"U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's guilty verdict
last week in the antitrust suit the government brought against the
Redmond, Wash., company two years ago was expected, even by
Microsoft. What wasn't, however, was the possibly more damaging
toll the legal proceedings have taken on the company. According to
many close to Microsoft, the company has been driven to major
distraction by the trial, which has resulted in the delay of at
least one of the company's major forthcoming product initiatives,
Next Generation Windows Services."
"In addition to the ruling last week, more than 110 class action
suits have been leveled against the company since Jackson's
findings of fact were issued last November; archrival Sun
Microsystems Inc. has intimated the possibility of launching its
own antitrust lawsuit against the company; Microsoft's stock value
dropped a total of 15 percent since the verdict was announced; and
at least a half-dozen key executives have been forced into double
duty, splitting their time between their regular jobs and assisting
with the case."
""The class actions will be a major headache," said Hillard
Sterling, an antitrust attorney at Gordon and Glickson LLC, in
Chicago. "There's just no efficient process to consolidate all of
these. It will be a multifront battle for years to come regardless
of the outcome of this trial. There's no hope of getting rid of
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