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2000    
Line   Jan. 13 – Founder Bill Gates steps down as chief executive; Steve Ballmer takes the job.

Jan. 18 – In proposed conclusions of law, Microsoft argues that it acted lawfully and that numerous competitive threats prove it does not wield monopoly power.

Jan. 25 – The government argues in proposed conclusions of law that Microsoft is trying to "evade" a finding that it holds monopoly power and that it exercised that power illegally.

Feb. 22 – Both sides deliver closing arguments on conclusions of law.

March 24 – Jackson says that unless he hears from mediator Richard Posner or jointly from both sides, he will issue his ruling, prompting last-minute talks.

March 28 – Jackson sets a deadline of April 6 for both sides to reach an agreement.

April 1 – Posner announces mediation talks have collapsed.

April 3 – Jackson issues his verdict, which includes his conclusions of law.

Spring – Jackson has indicated he will hold another set of hearings on remedies. Those proceedings could involve additional witnesses and last several weeks.

Summer – A final decision on remedies is expected. The losing side almost certainly will appeal. An appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals could take six to 12 months. A Supreme Court decision could take another six to 12 months.

1999    
Line   Jan. 13 – The government rests its case.

Feb. 27 – Microsoft rests its case. Both sides begin preparing rebuttal arguments.

March 31 – Microsoft and the government hold brief settlement talks but cannot reach an agreement.

June 1 – After a 13-week recess, rebuttal arguments begin. Each side is limited to three witnesses.

June 25 – Rebuttal arguments conclude.

Sept. 21 – Both sides deliver closing arguments.

Nov. 5 – In a preliminary ruling, Jackson finds that Microsoft holds monopoly power with its Windows operating system and that it used that power to harm consumers, computer makers and other companies. The findings of fact are so extensively weighted against Microsoft that most observers expect the company to be found guilty of antitrust violations.

Nov. 19 – Jackson appoints Richard Posner, chief judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as mediator in an effort to speed a settlement.

Nov. 30 – Judge Posner convenes with Microsoft and government representatives to discuss the possibility of a settlement.

Dec. 2 – The Justice Department hires merger and acquisition firm Greenhill & Co. to advise it on implications of remedies in the case.

Dec. 6 – In proposed findings of law, the Justice Department and the 19 states file papers arguing that Microsoft violated antitrust laws in at least four ways.

1998    
Line   Jan. 22 – The Justice Department and Microsoft reach settlement on contempt charge.

Feb. 2 – An appeals court panel temporarily removes Lessig from his post while the court considers Microsoft's appeal.

Feb. 17 – A Texas judge sides with Microsoft, saying the company didn not hinder that state's investigation.


Bill Gates gestures at Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy. (Washington Post)
   

March 3 – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and other computer industry executives testify before a U.S. Senate panel investigating the company's business practices.

April 21 – A federal appeals court in Washington hears arguments – but doesn't say when it will rule – on Microsoft's bid to overturn Judge Jackson's Dec. 11, 1997 injunction.

May 14 – Microsoft, the Justice Department and close to 20 states announce they're in settlement talks that could head off a massive antitrust suit.

May 18 – U.S., 20 states sue Microsoft.

May 21 – Microsoft asks judge to delay hearing.

May 22 – Judge sets September trial date for Microsoft.

June 23 – A federal appeals court rules that Microsoft did not violate a previous agreement with the government when it combined Windows 95 and Internet Explorer.

July 23 – Five computer executives, including Oracle Corp.'s Larry Ellison and IBM's Jeffrey Papous and Rob Glaser, complained to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Microsoft is using unfair business practices.

July 28 – Microsoft calls lawsuit "completely groundless." Microsoft also countersued the 20 states.

   
Microsoft general counsel William Neukom leaves federal court in Washington, August, 6, 1998. (Washington Post)

July 31 – Justice claims Microsoft won't make Gates available for questioning, turn over the source code for Windows or allow 17 company executives to be deposed.

Aug. 11 – Judge Jackson rules that pretrial interviews of Gates and other executives should be open. Microsoft appeals.

Aug. 19 – Federal court of appeals rules that pretrial interviews should be closed.

Aug. 25 – U.S. begins probe to determine if Microsoft illegally pressured Intel and Apple.

Sept. 8 – Microsoft files a 48-page legal brief rebuking the government and reiterating its argument that the case be dismissed.

Sept. 11 – The Justice Department and Microsoft Corp. ask Judge Jackson for a three-week delay to their antitrust trial due to pretrial preparations.

Sept. 14 – Judge Jackson rejects Microsoft's requests to throw out the two antitrust lawsuits.


Judge Jackson (File Photo)
   

Sept. 17 – Judge Jackson rejects a request from Microsoft to limit the scope of evidence that government lawyers can present in the antitrust trial.

Sept. 24 – Judge Jackson tells lawyers on both sides that he may ask Lawrence Lessig, to write a "friend of the court" brief summarizing his views on the case.

Sept. 28 – Microsoft serves subpoenas to authors David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano seeking, among other things, tapes of their interviews with Netscape employees.

Oct. 1 – Microsoft's Internet Explorer overtakes Netscape's Navigator in browser market share.

Oct. 8 – U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns rejects Microsoft's attempt to obtain Yoffie and Cusumano's recordings and notes.

Oct. 9 – Judge Jackson agrees to delay the beginning of the antitrust trial until October 19.

Oct. 19 – The trial begins at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

1997    
Line   Aug. 1 – Microsoft gets Justice Department approval for acquisition of WebTV Networks Inc., which produces a system for browsing the Internet on television.


Apple Computer Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs unveils an alliance with Microsoft on August 6, 1997. (AP)
   
Aug. 6 – Microsoft announces a $150 million investment in operating system rival Apple Computer Inc., a move that immediately draws Justice Department scrutiny.

Aug. 19 – The Justice Department reveals its investigation of Microsoft's growing presence in the video-streaming business, which delivers high-quality video and sound from the Internet to computer users.

Oct. 16 – European Commission officials announce the opening of their own Microsoft probe.

Oct. 20 – The Justice Department sues Microsoft, charging the company with violating the court-approved settlement by requiring computer makers to install its Internet Explorer browser if they want to license Windows 95.

Nov. 7 – Texas becomes the first state to file suit against Microsoft, charging the software maker with impeding its investigation through non-disclosure agreements with its business partners. Attorneys general of more than 20 states eventually open their own antitrust probes of Microsoft.

   
Nov. 24 – Microsoft alters an agreement with Santa Cruz Operation Inc., a rival maker of operating systems, to resolve a dispute with European officials.

Dec. 11 – Judge Jackson issues a preliminary injunction barring Microsoft from requiring computer makers to install Internet Explorer. Jackson also appoints Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig as a special master to advise him on a final decision in the case. Microsoft later appeals the order.

Dec. 15 – Microsoft says it will comply with Jackson's order by offering computer makers two new options, both of which would undermine a computer's performance.

Dec. 17 – The Justice Department asks Jackson to hold Microsoft in contempt of court, charging the new options don't meet the requirements of the preliminary injunction.

1996    
Line   July 23 – Caldera Inc. files an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, charging the company with excluding competitors from selling rival DOS operating systems.

Sept. 19 – Microsoft says the Justice Department is probing the bundling of its Internet browser and PC operating system.

1995    
Line   Feb. 14 – U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin rejects the settlement, saying it doesn't go far enough to curtail the company's anti-competitive conduct.

April 27 – The Justice Department sues to block Microsoft's acquisition of Intuit Inc., maker of the popular Quicken personal finance program.

May 20 – Microsoft abandons the Intuit acquisition.

June 9 – Microsoft reveals the Justice Department is investigating its new online service, Microsoft Network.

June 16 – A federal appeals court upholds the 1994 settlement, reversing Sporkin and removing the judge from the case.

Aug. 8 – The Justice Department says it won't block Microsoft's newest Windows 95 operating system before its release.
   
Windows 95 goes on sale one minute after midnight on August 24, 1995. (AP)

Aug. 21 – U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson approves the settlement reached the previous year.

Aug. 24 – Microsoft launches Windows 95.

1994    
Line   July 16 – Microsoft and the Justice Department reach a settlement that requires the company to change a variety of business practices, including key aspects of its licensing agreements with personal computer makers.
1993    
Line   Feb. 5 – In a 2-2 vote, FTC splits on filing charges.

July 21 – The FTC again deadlocks on taking action against Microsoft.

Aug. 20 – The FTC drops Microsoft probe. The Justice Department announces it is taking over the case.

1990    
Line   May 30 – The Federal Trade Commission opens an antitrust investigation of Microsoft. The agency considers charges that the company's pricing policies illegally thwarted competition and that it deliberately created hidden codes in its operating system to hinder competing applications.

Trial Archive

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