Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Thomas Penfield Jackson Jan. 10, 1937 - June 15, 2013 Judge Split Microsoft in 2000 Antitrust Case

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Thomas Penfield Jackson Jan. 10, 1937 - June 15, 2013 Judge Split Microsoft in 2000 Antitrust Case

Article excerpt

Thomas Penfield Jackson, a federal judge who ruled in 2000 that Microsoft was a predatory monopoly and must be split in half, only to see an appeals court reverse his order because he had improperly discussed it with journalists, died at his home in Compton, Md., on Saturday. He was 76.

The cause was complications of transitional cell cancer, according to his wife, Patricia King Jackson.

The career of Judge Jackson, who served in the District of Columbia, was studded with big moments. In 1988, he fined a former Reagan aide, Michael Deaver, $100,000 for lying under oath about his lobbying activities. In 1990, he conducted the trial that convicted former Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., for cocaine possession. In 1994, he ordered Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., to give the Senate Ethics Committee his personal diary, which contained details of his sexually harassing his staff and others, resulting in his resignation.

But the burly, silver-haired judge -- known for chewing on ice cubes, gruff candor and a rich baritone -- attracted the most attention presiding over the trial of Microsoft Corp. for antitrust violations in 1998-99 -- one of history's largest antitrust cases.

Mindful that the government's antitrust offensive against IBM lasted 13 years and its action against AT&T involved a million documents, he limited each side to 12 witnesses and forced lawyers to submit testimony in writing. The main court proceedings took 76 trial days.

A technological novice who wrote his opinions in longhand and used his computer mainly to email jokes, Judge Jackson refuted Microsoft's assertion that it was impossible to remove the company's Internet Explorer Web browser from its operating system by doing it himself. Because there was no jury, he said he felt free to show his emotions and occasionally rolled his eyes and laughed at testimony. …

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