The Antitrust Case Against Microsoft

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The Anti-Trust Case Against Microsoft

Since 1990, a battle has raged in United States courts between the United States

government and the Microsoft Corporation out of Redmond, Washington, headed by Bill

Gates. What is at stake is money. The federal government maintains that Microsoft's

monopolistic practices are harmful to United States citizens, creating higher prices and

potentially downgrading software quality, and should therefore be stopped, while

Microsoft and its supporters claim that they are not breaking any laws, and are just doing

good business.

Microsoft's antitrust problems began for them in the early months of 1990(Check

1), when the Federal Trade Commission began investigating them for possible violations

of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts,(Maldoom 1) which are designed to stop the

formation of monopolies. The investigation continued on for the next three years without

resolve, until Novell, maker of DR-DOS, a competitor of Microsoft's MS-DOS, filed a

complaint with the Competition Directorate of the European Commission in June of 1993.

(Maldoom 1) Doing this stalled the investigations even more, until finally in August of

1993, (Check 1)the Federal Trade Commission decided to hand the case over to the

Department of Justice. The Department of Justice moved quickly, with Anne K.

Bingaman, head of the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, leading the way.(Check 1) The case

was finally ended on July 15, 1994, with Microsoft signing a consent settlement.(Check 1)

The settlement focused on Microsoft's selling practices with computer

manufacturers. Up until now, Microsoft would sell MS-DOS and Microsoft's other

operating systems to original equipment manufacturers (OEM's) at a 60% discount if that

OEM agreed to pay a royalty to Microsoft for every single computer that they sold

(Check 2) regardless if it had a Microsoft operating system installed on it or not. After the

settlement, Microsoft would be forced...