MICROSOFT, THE JUSTICE DEPT., and Stanley Sporkin: The odd trio are tangled in a seemingly endless legal waltz. U.S. District Court Judge Sporkin complicated life for the other two in mid-February by tossing out Justice's consent decree with Microsoft. On Mar. 14, in a public statement, he explained why. Sporkin defended his request for more information from Justice and his decision to accept comments from anonymous Microsoft rivals, and he offered thinly veiled criticism of Microsoft for filing a Court of Appeals motion that he recuse himself from the case.

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