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June 7th, 2000

[4:30 PM] Microsoft Ruling: Judge Slams MS, Orders Company Broken Up
by Wes George

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson minced few words in his ruling to divide Microsoft into two corporations. The Final Judgment begins with directions for Microsoft to submit to the court a proposed plan of divestiture within the next four months, at which time the DOJ will then have 30 days to submit its objections to Microsoft's proposal.

The court's plan is to "separate the operating systems business from the applications business." Until that can be effected, the court ordered Microsoft to "take no action that undermines, frustrates, interferes with, or makes more difficult the divestiture required by this Final Judgment without the prior approval of the Court; and file a report with the Court 90 days after entry of this Final Judgment on the steps Microsoft has taken to comply..."

The judge also revealed how little cooperation the court received from Microsoft's leadership in a Memorandum And Order document which chastised Microsoft's contriteness during the trial. The document urged that remedies should be applied quickly since, "Microsoft as it is presently organized and led is unwilling to accept the notion that it broke the law or accede to an order amending its conduct."

Apparently the judge was appalled that Microsoft is still in denial over its antitrust conviction. "Microsoft does not yet concede that any of its business practices violated the Sherman Act. Microsoft officials have recently been quoted publicly to the effect that the company has "done nothing wrong" and that it will be vindicated on appeal...It is time to put that assertion to the test."

The Memorandum and Order goes on, "there is credible evidence in the record to suggest that Microsoft, convinced of its innocence, continues to do business as it has in the past, and may yet do to other markets what it has already done in the PC operating system and browser markets."

Furthermore, the court ruled for a list of interim restrictions to begin in 90 days while the appeals process drags on. Again, the Memorandum and Order document from the court: "Microsoft has proved untrustworthy in the past. In earlier proceedings in which a preliminary injunction was entered, Microsoft's purported compliance with that injunction while it was on appeal was illusory and its explanation disingenuous. If it responds in similar fashion to an injunctive remedy in this case, the earlier the need for enforcement measures becomes apparent the more effective they are likely to be."

The court document also implied that due to Microsoft's lack of cooperation in the numerous attempts to bridge a compromise in the form of a consent decree, the court's ruling is more severe than it could have been.

A Reuters' report lists chronologically the key events in Microsoft's legal war against the government trustbusters.

The Mac Observer Spin: Hallelujah, Microsoft has been found guilty as charged! Although this is the court's final ruling on this case, you can be sure Microsoft's lawyers will drag this thing all the way to the Supreme Court if allowed. Meanwhile, it's not at all certain that the remedies demanded by Judge Jackon's final judgment will stop Microsoft from sabotaging efforts to control the company's monopolistic urges.


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