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.
"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
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."
"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
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
"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
``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."
"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
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."