Key dates in the antitrust case against Microsoft Corp.:

1975 — Microsoft founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates.

July 1994 — Microsoft in a consent decree agrees to change contracts with PC makers and eliminate some restrictions on other software makers, ending a Justice Department investigation.

August 1995 — Microsoft launches Windows 95 operating system.

September 1997 — Microsoft launches Internet Explorer 4.0 in stepped-up challenge to Netscape Communications Corp.

October — Justice Department sues Microsoft, alleging it violated the 1994 consent decree by forcing computer makers to sell its Internet browser as a condition of selling its popular Windows software.

December — U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issues preliminary injunction forcing Microsoft to stop, at least temporarily, requiring manufacturers who sell Windows 95 to install Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The company appeals.

May 1998 — Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general sue Microsoft, charging it illegally thwarted competition to protect and extend its monopoly on software. One state later drops from the suit.

June 23 — A three-judge federal appeals panel removes the restrictions that Jackson imposed on Windows 95 software, saying there was adequate justification to bundle the Internet browser in Windows.

Aug. 27 — Government lawyers question Gates for 30 hours over three days in a videotaped deposition. Excerpts are shown in the courtroom during the trial

Oct. 19 — The antitrust trial begins.

Nov. 5, 1999 — Judge Jackson, in preliminary findings, declares Microsoft a monopoly. He rules that the company's actions are "stifling innovation" and hurting consumers.

Nov. 9 — A small advertising company in New York files suit against Microsoft, the first in a wave of litigation against the software giant following the judge's ruling.

Nov. 19 — Jackson appoints Richard Posner, chief judge for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, as a mediator to oversee voluntary settlement talks between the government and Microsoft.

Jan. 13, 2000 — Gates steps aside as Microsoft chief executive and promotes company president, Steve Ballmer.

Jan. 18 — Microsoft, in its first formal response to the court's ruling, says its Windows software doesn't represent a monopoly because the company doesn't control the price or availability of software to run the world's personal computers.

Feb. 22 — Judge hears final round of arguments, rejects key legal defense for Microsoft.

March 24 — Microsoft faxes detailed settlement offer to government lawyers.

March 26 — Government rejects proposal.

April 1 — Talks between federal government and Microsoft break down and Posner says he is ending his mediation effort.

April 3 — Judge finds that Microsoft Corp. violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, "maintained its monopoly power by anticompetitive means" and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market. The judge also rules that Microsoft violated another section of the law by "unlawfully tying its Web browser to its operating system" and could be sued under state anti-competition laws.

April 28 — The Justice Department and 17 state attorneys general ask the judge to break the company into two parts: one company to develop and market the Windows operating system and the other to develop Microsoft's other software and Internet holdings, including the Microsoft Office suite of programs.

May 10 — Microsoft Corp. asks a federal judge to throw out the Justice Department's plan, saying the penalty would far exceed the antitrust violations the judge found the company to have committed.

June 7 — Jackson orders the breakup of Microsoft Corp. into two companies, declaring the software giant had "proved untrustworthy in the past." Gates immediately vows to appeal.

Sept. 26 — Supreme Court refuses to hear Microsoft's appeal of Judge Jackson's decision, sending the case instead to a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia.

Jan. 2001 - Government and Microsoft filed briefs to the federal appeals court. Microsoft says Jackson's many comments to journalists show his bias against the company.

Feb. 6 — Appeals court schedules time during oral arguments for discussion about Jackson's behavior outside the courtroom.

Feb. 26-27 — Appeals court hears oral arguments. Judges lambaste Jackson for extrajudicial comments.

June 28 — Appeals court throws out breakup order, citing Jackson's comments.