Microsoft feels heat as DoJ steps up monopolies action

Microsoft feels heat as DoJ steps up monopolies action
Tom Foremski Microsoft faces the prospect of a legal battle with the US government following its failure to halt anti-monopolies lawsuits challenging the release of the Windows 98 operating system. The failure to avert legal action now brings the prospect of a major legal battle, with the $100bn PC industry facing possible lower sales as Microsoft attempts to assert its rights to do whatever it pleases with its operating systems. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said that the demands by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and lawyers representing more than 20 US states were unreasonable and “went too far” by calling for Microsoft to give up displaying the Windows user interface when a PC boots up. “The government’s theories for the personal computer industry were not in the interest of PC users and would have set a bad precedent for other technology companies in the PC industry,” added William Neukom, senior vice-president for law and corporate affairs at Microsoft. Microsoft has shipped Windows 98 to its OEMs but those companies face the dilemma of deciding whether to prepare for shipment of millions of PCs with Windows 98 and risk the possibility that the DOJ will win a court injunction barring Windows 98 shipments. David Coursey, Microsoft watcher and computer newsletter publisher, believes that Microsoft may have to swallow some bitter medicine and may have to agree “to separate its operating systems development from applications development, both fiscally and technologically”.


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