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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WORLD VIEW




Judge Thomas Jackson's order to split Microsoft into two independent companies f one selling Windows; the other, applications like Word and Excel f is the proper remedy for repeated violations of antitrust laws. A less drastic remedy would prove ineffectual or intrusive. Jackson chose breakup because the two companies would compete and innovate without having government officials overseeing every move. Breakup is the best way to create a market where Microsoft can no longer smother software that would be good for consumers but bad for Microsoft.


After two years of deliberation, Jackson ruled in April that Microsoft had abused its monopoly over Windows to crush competition. It adopted business practices that would have been unprofitable but for their role in blocking rivals from getting fair access to customers. For example, it used illegal tactics to prevent Netscape from freely selling its browser.


Though the content of the ruling was unsurprising, the tone was startlingly stern. Judge Jackson says, "There is credible evidence in the record to suggest that Microsoft, convinced of its innocence, continues to do business as it has in the past and may yet do to other markets what it has already done." Judge Jackson sided completely with the government in part because he mistrusts the company. Microsoft has reaped the well-deserved consequences.


June 8