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May 24th, 2000

[5:00 PM] How About A Microsoft 3-Way? Judge Jackson Pushes Breakup Forward
by Wes George

Today Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson concluded the hearing on proposed remedies after he denied Microsoft's plea for a six month extension to argue the case further, noting that the case has been pending for two years. The Judge also asked the DOJ to come up with "clean version" of the plan to divide the software giant into two or even three companies by this Friday. Microsoft will respond by Tuesday and Judge Jackson's decision is expected shortly after that.

In a new development, the Judge suggested that the government's plan to divide Microsoft into two companies, one a software business and the second an operating system business, would merely "create two separate monopolies."

Instead, Jackson seems to be leaning towards a proposal by two groups of Microsoft's rivals to divide the company into three parts.

According to a Reuters' report, "Jackson praised as an 'excellent brief' a 65-page friend-of-the-court filing submitted by two industry groups calling for Microsoft's Web browser to be cordoned off into a third company."

Microsoft lawyer John Warden said, "I submit this remedy is so extreme ... it will go a very long way to ensure that Microsoft is the one company that won't win" in future competition with its rivals.

Microsoft general counsel William Neukom told reporters after the hearing. "On appeal, Microsoft will be raising challenges to the procedures used throughout this trial, including the remedy phase. We will be challenging the findings of fact, the conclusions of law, and the nature of any relief the judge might enter."

Microsoft's lawyers and management are confident that they will reverse any decision to divide the company on appeal.

The Mac Observer Spin: After the contempt Microsoft has shown for the process of justice and the rule of law, not only in the current case but also the last time Microsoft was dragged before an antitrust court, let's hope that the court has learned its lesson. Microsoft can not be trusted. Breaking the company up is the only logical remedy.

By breaking the company up, current shareholder value would likely be highly increased, while a shower of venture capital would rain down on rivals seeking to fairly compete against Microsoft with innovations that have been suppressed in the past. Without a break up of the company, the MS reign of terror will undoubtedly continue and another round of antitrust lawsuits will almost certainly be forthcoming.


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