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Microsoft Court Case

Microsoft's success in the fast-paced technology market and its highly completive practices earned Microsoft the resentment and bitterness of others in the market. Some claimed that Microsoft violated U.S. laws regarding fair competition. In 1990, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Microsoft for anticompetitive practices. Microsoft argued that instead of hurting competition and technological advancements, it had helped the market and its software had consistently decreased in price and increased in usefulness. Unable to reach a decision, the case was dropped, but the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) continued the probe. Collaboration between IBM and Microsoft ended in 1991. IBM chose to use OS/2 operating system for its PCs instead of Windows. In 1994, the DOJ ordered Microsoft to halt some sales practices that, the government argued Microsoft "unfairly discouraged OS customers from trying alternative programs."

In 1995, after the release of Windows 95, the DOJ charged Microsoft with violating the 1994 settlement because it required manufacturers who installed Windows 95 to also include Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is Microsoft's tool for browsing the Internet. Microsoft refuted the claim saying that it should have to right to "enhance the functionality of Windows by integrating Internet-related features into the operating system." The antitrust dispute was settled in early 1998. Microsoft agreed to let manufactures install a version of Windows 95 without Internet Explorer.

In May 1998 is when Microsoft's real trouble began. The Justice Department along with 20 states filed antitrust suits claiming that Microsoft acted with anticompetitive practices. The suits sought to force Microsoft to offer Windows without Internet Explorer or to include its competitor, Netscape Navigator. Some of Microsoft's contracts and pricing strategies were also under dispute.

Beginning in October 1998, the federal antitrust trial against Microsoft began. Many executives, including one from Netscape and Sun, were called to testify regarding their business involvement with Microsoft. The following year, in November, the federal district court judge declared that Microsoft did, indeed, have a monopoly in the operating systems market. In April 2000, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled antitrust laws had been violated by practices that discouraged competition. Microsoft has been split into, two separate companies. On June 13, 2000, Microsoft filed its notice to appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals and asked if the court would stay the ruling of the district court. The Court of Appeals announced that it would hear the case en banc. The court did vote to stay the ruling.

"This is the beginning of a new chapter in this lawsuit," said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect. "We have a very strong case on appeal, and we look forward to resolving these issues Bill Gates, courtesy ABCNEWS.com
through the appeals process and putting this case behind us once and for all."

Taken from Microsoft's appeal (p. 1, MS Brief)--"Microsoft respectfully disagrees with many of the Court's findings of fact and believes they are unsupported by the record. For purposes of preparing its proposed conclusions of law, however, Microsoft accepts argue do the facts as found by the Court. Even accepting the Court's findings of fact, plaintiffs still have not satisfied their burden under the governing law on any of their claims."

On Sept. 26, 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court gave the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals after Judge Jackson certified the case for review by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had the right to keep it or allow it to go through the normal appellate courts. Microsoft thought that the best way to go about it was through the appellate courts.


E-mail me at emshaw95@hotmail.com

This site is 2001 By Erin