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Microsoft to Make a Deal? A Collection of News on Yesterday's Ruling.

Jun 29, 2001, 14:48 (75 Talkback[s])

Compiled by Michael Hall, Editor

Here's a collection of Microsoft items related to yesterday's news regarding the court vacating Microsoft's breakup. The biggest development is, of course, that Microsoft may be willing to make a deal, and that the coalition of state attorneys general that drove much of the case may be willing to come to the table for resolution. Reactions to the ruling range from relief to angry defiance, as this sampling shows.

BBC: Gates pushes for settlement

"Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says he wants an out-of-court settlement of his firm's long running anti-trust battle.

He said the path to a deal had been paved by the appeals court, which set aside a ruling that the software giant must be broken up.

Mr Gates told the BBC that Microsoft was interested in a settlement of the company's long-running dispute with the US government over the violation of anti-monopoly laws."

Washington Post: For Microsoft Rivals, A Sense of Relief

"Around the country yesterday, some high-tech executives were ecstatic about the appeals court decision on the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case. Others were devastated. Many were confused. The only feeling practically everyone seemed to share was fatigue.

They are tired of flip-flopping announcements that the software giant would be broken up -- or not. Tired of switching business plans and strategies to match court rulings. Tired of the uncertainty.

Yesterday's decision, many hoped, was the beginning of the end. The court's affirmation of one major finding by the lower court -- that Microsoft was a monopoly -- at least was a sign that there had been some progress toward a resolution."

Hardware Central: Vader Defeats Truman

"Liberals like me are going to spend the next few weeks moaning, "If only Judge Jackson had kept his mouth shut," just the way we moan, "If only Bill Clinton had kept his zipper shut."

While the appeals court explicitly says "we find no evidence of actual bias," it was clearly steamed by the media interviews in which the judge -- himself clearly steamed by Microsoft's getting caught faking a video demonstration and Bill Gates's loopy attempts to say his e-mails somehow wrote themselves -- compared the software giant's execs to arrogant drug dealers or the megalomaniac Napoleon. So, as expected, it's thrown out Jackson's proposed remedy of splitting Microsoft into separate operating systems and applications companies.

But the rest of the 125-page decision is not good news for Microsoft. In fact, it's another emphatic ruling that Microsoft not only has monopoly power, but has used it illegally -- upholding Jackson's "finding of monopoly power in its entirety" and "agreeing with the District Court that the company behaved anticompetitively."

Feds May Settle Microsoft Case

"The Justice Department (news - web sites) is studying its options, which include an appeal to the Supreme Court, a settlement or asking the new judge taking over the case to impose penalties on Microsoft.

Attorneys general from some of the 19 states that sued Microsoft said they would be open to settlement. The White House also hinted that President Bush (news - web sites) preferred an out-of-court solution.

``The president believes people should work hard to enter into agreements and the president believes there's too much litigation in our society generally speaking,'' White House press secretary Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) said."

New York Times: News Analysis: Judging a Moving Target

"Tigers don't change their stripes," said Timothy F. Bresnahan, a Stanford University economist who was employed by the Justice Department's antitrust division at the trial. "The reason this case matters going forward is the competitive threat to the Windows monopoly the Internet brought in the late 90's wasn't a one-time thing."

Indeed, the crucial factor in the collapse of negotiations with AOL Time Warner last week appeared to be Microsoft's insistence that AOL, which is an online rival, drop support for the software of a bitter Microsoft competitor, RealNetworks' RealPlayer program. Such a move would have given Microsoft an advantage in bundling its own Media Player program with its new operating system.

The appeals court itself acknowledged the quandary, saying that while the case had moved with dispatch, the activities it dealt with were six years old, and "six years seems like an eternity in the computer industry."