Justice Department says justices could get single Microsoft case


WASHINGTON - The Justice Department and 19 states told a federal appeals court yesterday that the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case could be headed for the Supreme Court next week, with all issues wrapped up in a single case.

Rejecting a claim by the software company that the case will be split into two, with one in the appeals court even if the other goes on to the high court, prosecutors said they would follow a procedure to assure that just one appeal goes forward.

Microsoft has asked the appeals court to block all parts of the order by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to break up the company and impose tight restrictions on its business behavior. But the department and the states urged the appeals court to do nothing until Jackson decides next week whether to shift the case directly to the Supreme Court.

Splitting the case, Microsoft's challengers contended, would slow a final resolution of the dispute.

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