"Everyone knew that the government had mounted a strong case in
U.S. v. Microsoft. But nobody expected a complete rout.
Yet, when U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Jackson released his
finding of facts on Nov. 5, he handed state and federal prosecutors
an unambiguous triumph. Declaring that Microsoft routinely used its
monopoly power to crush competitors, he portrayed the software
giant as nothing less than a social menace.
Jackson's fact-findings were so critical of the company that
they've raised the stakes in this battle: Suddenly, the breakup of
Microsoft (MSFT) is a real possibility. 'If you had asked me
how likely a breakup of Microsoft was six months ago, I would have
said 10%,' says Robert E. Litan, an antitrust expert at the
Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. 'Now I say it's 50%.'
Even Justice antitrust chief Joel I. Klein confided to millions of
Sunday morning talk show viewers that a breakup is now squarely 'in
the range' of potential solutions."
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