Microsoft: There Goes The Judge?

WAS DISTRICT COURT JUDGE Stanley Sporkin out of line? His refusal in February to approve the government's antitrust consent decree with Microsoft shocked the Justice Dept. and the software industry alike. On Apr. 24, though, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington gave a sympathetic hearing to the litigants, who argued that Sporkin exceeded his authority. The court is likely to decide within the next two months whether to overturn Sporkin's decision. Meanwhile, Microsoft is awaiting word from Justice on its proposed merger with Intuit. Because of Sporkin's criticisms, the agency has been under pressure to block the deal. Justice as early as May 1.