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Government Wants Judge to Break Up Microsoft

its software are because there's a uniformity between most computers.
The whole trial began in October, 1998, when the government filed a complaint in may charging Microsoft with using its monopoly power to crush rival Netscape.
Since then, Federal District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has ruled in November that Microsoft had monopoly power, and on April 3rd of this year, he ruled that the company's actions violated antitrust laws.
"We do not believe we have violated the law and the Court of Appeals has yet to consider this case," said Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft. "Microsoft has exciting plans to develop a broad array of next-generation software products that will take computing to the next level, but those plans are imperiled by the extreme regulation proposed by the government."
Two of the 19 states who were on the government's side, Ohio and Illinois, dissented from the plan because they felt it was too early for breakup.

The proposed split would last ten years.
The case has been going on for a period of two years and the judge in the case, Judge Jackson has said that he wants the case to be over in 6 months.
"This was not developed by anyone who knows anything about the software business," responded an angry sounding Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, to the government. "These proposals would have a chilling effect on innovation in the high tech industry. Microsoft could never have developed Windows under these rules," said gates in an earlier video-taped statement.
The company will definitely appeal all the way to the Supreme Court as hard as they can, meaning the case might last to 2001, in which a new president, Bush or Gore, might influence the case. Bush might be more skeptical of the Gov. case.
The employees at Microsoft have expressed that they really don't care about the split. "It won't really have any

impact on my job, and I don't think they'll actually go through with it anyway," said a software testing engineer who only gave the name Steve. "I'm going to be doing the same job next week that I was doing this week," said another employee.
Microsoft's stock has gone up a bit upon the news. Analysts said that there was relief of knowing what punishment Microsoft might be getting.
On MSNBC's website, there was a survey about the plan that yielded 41,020 response. Eighty-three percent said the company should not split in two. One side note, MSNBC belongs to Microsoft.
The government's purpose is to stop Microsoft from using its monopoly power in Windows, which is used by 80% of the market. The government also wants smaller companies to be able to compete with Microsoft in a fair environment.
In some surveys, consumers seem to like how dominant the Windows OS and

Microsoft's Troubles

Microsoft licensed its OS more cheaply to computer makers such as Dell and Compaq, which exclusively installed its system.
When IBM refused to drop sales of its own rival OS2 and software packages, it lost millions of dollars worth of sales by not receiving the crucial details of Windows 95 until 15 minutes before it launched. Other PC makers had computers with it installed and ready to ship.
But the key in the case is how Microsoft made its Internet Explorer browser crush and dominate the dominant Netscape Navigator.
The trial heard that Microsoft not only gave away IE but also "bundled" its Windows OS and forcing manufacturers to preinstall it on their computers.
Even if the user wanted to use Navigator instead, its performance was not as quick, and IE would be used as the default browser for a variety of functions.
Microsoft also pressured Apple to pre-install IE on its PCs, even though Apple has a different kind of OS.
Microsoft then gained a half share of the browser, crushing rival Netscape, as a result of its efforts to make IE the browser of its choice.
Another thing Microsoft did was to modify Java, a powerful open-source Internet and applications programming language that would run on all platforms (all OSs), so that it would only run

on Windows instead.
Microsoft responded to all these allegations by saying that it faces a great deal of competition and that its actions reflect that fact.
It also claimed that the consumers benefited from this competition because Navigator was previously charged for and IE made Netscape offer Navigator for free.
Microsoft also says that the merger between AOL and Netscape (and now Time Warner) prove that Microsoft does not have monopoly power.
The judge in this case thinks differently of the monopoly. Judge Penfield Jackson has ruled in November that Microsoft held Monopoly power, and after months of talks failed, he again ruled on April 3 that the company's actions violated antitrust laws.
Settlement talks between the two sides are still taking place in Chicago. There has been suggestions that the talks could yield a open source Windows where Microsoft's competitors can see the Windows code.
The judge in this case has four main options:

  1. Break-up -- Split Microsoft into separate companies selling OSs, applications and internet content respectively.
  2. Open source code -- Competitors could add or modify Windows to use their own software.

Microsoft is the world's largest company by market value. It provides the operating system for about 80% of the world's computers.
An operating system is the basic program that a computer loads every time it starts to make it work. Any software, such as games or word processors, needs to be compatible with the operating system for it to work because all the software run on the OS.
Microsoft not only produces the operating systems which run about 80% of the world, it also produces many software applications such as Word and Excel, which run smoothly only on Microsoft OS. Companies and programmers have tended to write programs for Microsoft's OS instead of Apple and others because Microsoft's OS is so dominant.
The judge in the trial, Thomas Penfield Jackson, pointed out that the dominance grows more and more as people choose the Microsoft OS because there are many more software products on the market for it.
The dominance also shows in PC manufacturers who decide to install the Microsoft OS in their products, knowing that it is likely to be the best seller.
Microsoft is accused of using its monopoly power illegally to crush competitors. The US Department of Justice alleges that Microsoft has used its domination of the OS market to restrict competition.