DowJones.com: The Microsoft Ruling: Fallout –And Now The Lawyers Begin To Circle Around

“Private antitrust lawyers and corporate general counsel are
scouring a federal judge’s scathing finding that Microsoft Corp.
used its monopoly in personal-computer operating systems to hurt
consumers and competitors, looking for opportunities to seek
monetary damages from the software company. …the prospect that
others will pile on is considered a major incentive for Microsoft
to settle the federal antitrust case…”

“The most obvious potential private antitrust case would appear
to involve Netscape Communications Corp… America Online Inc. now
owns Netscape’s right to sue… one person close to AOL said a
private suit on behalf of former Netscape shareholders might be an
option for the company after a final outcome of the government’s

“The most lucrative legal opportunity may be on behalf of
In his ruling, Judge Jackson said consumers may
have paid more than they would have in a competitive market, citing
a Microsoft study suggesting a possible price of $49 for an upgrade
to Windows 98. The study identified $89 as the ‘revenue-maximizing’
price, and Microsoft opted for the higher price. ‘It looks like
a class action waiting to happen,’
said the general counsel of
one major software company, who spoke on the condition he not be

Robert Hall, an economics professor at Stanford University who
specializes in the arcane science of quantifying such damages,
estimated the price of a copy of Windows 98 might have been $10
lower were it not for misconduct described in the findings.
Multiplied by more than 100 million copies, and tripled, the
damages in such a case could reach ‘many billions,’


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