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The Register: Judge's helper Lessig rejects MS breakup solution

Feb 25, 2000, 00:06 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

"Lessig... thinks it would be difficult to draw breakup lines that would be both rational and would tackle antitrust issues. And he doesn't think making the Windows source public would help either... But he does think opening up on the APIs would be helpful. ... Over the years and during the trial there have been persuasive arguments made that Microsoft gives preferred customers preferential access to APIs, and the judge concluded that this does happen."

"You can however see the making of a possible deal here, if the judge consults Lessig further, and favours his views over the hawks in the government camp. Microsoft could present an opening of the APIs as a no-change or not much change situation, and in the short term at least a levelling of the playing field wouldn't hurt it much; it beat the hell out of the apps competition years ago, and has a lot of spare fat to burn before reinvigorated rivals would actually hurt it."

"But that could only be one component of a deal. It might conceivably help Linux carve out a more credible space as a Windows rival, but Judge Jackson would find it tricky to accept this as a serious way to tackle the monopoly. We might not all agree with him, but he's already set down his view that Linux is not a serious, immediate competitor for Windows, so by going the API route he'd also have to complicate matters by imposing other controls."

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