Will Microsoft Make the Grade?

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WASHINGTON: They've handed in their homework, now it's just a question of waiting for the grades and one of them is definitely going to flunk. Yes, despite the holiday, Microsoft and the Justice Department were working up to the last minute Monday on the "ten pages or less" summaries mandated by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who is seeking some simple perspectives in what has become an increasingly complex contempt hearing.

So who's going to get top marks? Microsoft's argument was basically a reprise of their show-and-tell in the courtroom last week: remove Internet Explorer from Windows 95, they warned, and you get a crippled PC. The government's paper, if nothing else, was more passionate: "Microsoft construed the preliminary injunction to require what it knew would be a senseless result," it wrote. The software firm has not exactly been teacher's pet in this trial, and the government's simple argument that all they had to do to comply was run the "Add/Remove" program could well land the DOJ with an A+, and Bill Gates with a big fat F.