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Business Week: Does a [Microsoft] Breakup Make Sense?

Nov 17, 1999, 16:57 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Burrows, Michael Moeller, Mike France, Linda Himelstein)

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"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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