A federal appeals court on Friday officially returned the ongoing antitrust case against Microsoft to the lower US District Court for the District of Columbia. Through a lottery process, the District Court tapped Colleen Kollar-Kotelly as the judge who will decide what remedies should be applied to Microsoft to break its monopoly grip on the operating system market.
District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled last year that Microsoft operates as an illegal monopoly in the desktop operating system market and outlined structural and behavioral remedies, including splitting the software giant into two companies.
Microsoft appealed that decision, but found little relief with the Appeals Court as it upheld the lower court's illegal monopoly charge. However, the Appeals Court overturned Judge Jackson's remedies, and ordered that a new District Court judge be chosen to decide those details and other aspects of the case. The Appeals Court sharply rebuked Jackson for interviews he gave to journalists and public comments he made about the case while it was still in his court.
The Appeals Court last week rejected a Microsoft motion that it not send the case back to the District Court, until the US Supreme Court responds to a company request to hear the case. Friday's "mandate" from the Appeals Court to return the case to the District Court was expected and is part of the procedure for remanding the matter.
Meanwhile, Microsoft officials have said they will continue to seek favorable resolution of the case by pursuing settlement options with the US Department of Justice and state attorneys general -- the plaintiffs who filed suit four years ago.