Judge mulls delay of Microsoft antitrust trial

The judge presiding over the US. government's antitrust case against Microsoft is considering a request from both sides to delay the start of the trial for about two weeks, two sources close to the investigation say. The trial is currently scheduled to begin Sept. 8. Lawyers for Microsoft and the US Department of Justice are said to have agreed among themselves this week that pushing back the trial date would be preferable.

The judge presiding over the US. government's antitrust case against Microsoft is considering a request from both sides to delay the start of the trial for about two weeks, two sources close to the investigation say. The trial is currently scheduled to begin Sept. 8.

Lawyers for Microsoft and the US Department of Justice agreed among themselves this week that pushing back the trial date would be preferable, and approached U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson jointly with the request, one of the sources said.

The US District Court could not immediately be reached for comment.

The call for a delay comes at a time when Microsoft and the District Court are haggling over the courts ruling that depositions given by certain Microsoft executives, including chairman and chief executive officer Bill Gates, are open to the press and public.

Responding to a request from media publications including The New York Times and The Seattle Times, Judge Jackson ruled Tuesday that the press can attend the questioning sessions. The judge based his decision on a provision in the Sherman Act, which governs antitrust cases in the U.S. Microsoft yesterday appealed that ruling.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached http://www.microsoft.com/. The U.S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C., can be reached at http://www.usdoj.gov/.

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