Govt. says Microsoft ignoring monopoly ruling

By : |January 27, 2000 0

Microsoft has so far completely ignored Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s
ruling that the company operates a monopoly and is using its monopoly power to
safeguard its Windows operating system from competitive threats, according to
lawyers for the U.S. Justice in their latest court filings. Department and 19 states are suing the software giant on antitrust grounds. 

Microsoft is treating last fall’s ruling as merely an afterthought and is not
changing its business practices to prepare for the legal consequences of the
Court’s ruling. Nor has the company provided any meaningful evidence to
suggest that it is not violating antitrust law in exercising its monopoly power.

The brief was filed in response to a Microsoft filing last week in which the
company said the government failed to show that Microsoft’s business practices
violated U.S. law.

"Microsoft treats as nearly an afterthought both the court’s core
finding that Microsoft has monopoly power and the unifying theme of the court’s
numerous findings’ that Microsoft fought a multi-front campaign to protect its
monopoly,"  the government argued in a 30-page brief. The antitrust case is
moving toward a February 22 data at which both parties will be able to submitted
court room testimony on the issue of whether Microsoft’s use of its monopoly
power violated antitrust laws. It is all but certain that Jackson will rule in
the Government’s favor on this critical issue.

"Microsoft fails to identify any basis for denying the plain legal
consequence of the court’s findings: that Microsoft unlawfully maintained a
monopoly” in violation of the law, the government said. Reportedly, the
settlement talks in Chicago have all but broken down as Microsoft is refusing to
consider some of the remedies the government has proposed, most notably a
three-way split-up of the company.

Legal analysts say the chances of a settlement appear dead at this point and
Microsoft has likely decided to fight the case tooth and nails, hoping to find
relief in either the legal or political systems with a future possible
Republican Administration killing the case if any of Jackson’s rulings are
over-turned on appeal. Microsoft’s new chief executive officer, Steve Ballmer
said two weeks ago that talk of a break-up was "absolutely reckless and
irresponsible.”

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