Essay about The Antitrust Case Against Microsoft

Words: 1891
Pages: 8

The U.S. government charged that Microsoft had violated antitrust law. Microsoft disagreed. Do you agree with the U.S. government, or with Microsoft? In answering this question, you may wish to address two issues. Was Microsoft a monopoly? Did it use its monopoly to compete unfairly against other companies?

Commencing in 1990, Microsoft was investigated and then charged with violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act which governs United States businesses. The company was determined to be a monopoly, and one which used anti-competitive practices to keep its leading edge on the market. As would most any organization on the receiving end of the allegations, Microsoft did not agree with the charges and sought to defend its business
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Further options were to sell the Windows source code to bidders, or just have the company publish its code for any to see. Each option brought its own negative repercussions. Breaking the organization up either horizontally (two separate companies with differing products) or vertically (multiple equal companies) would cause serious financial impacts to the organization and potentially to the community, by way of job loss or increase in product prices. The best break up option was a combination approach, which would have the organization break up into several smaller companies that would be competitors, but allow one separate company to retain the major assets.

The options revolving around the intellectual property rights were challenged in that there were no interested parties who would consider purchasing the Windows source code. Further, there was the very real probability that anyone who purchased the code would find themselves unable to decipher or use it to create their own competitive software without having to engage Microsoft for technical support. This technical challenge would present itself to software developers, regardless of how they obtained the code – whether by purchase or by viewing the published version.

In 2000, the Judge Jackson, who was presiding over the Antitrust violation case concluded