DOJ slams Microsoft in its conclusions of law

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and attorneys generals of 19 states have filed their conclusions of law in the Microsoft antitrust case with Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's court. The findings are fairly straightforward and should surprise no one.

"The findings of fact issued by the Court on November 5, 1999, establish that Microsoft violated the Sherman Act in at least four ways," the joint conclusions read. "First, and most comprehensively, Microsoft violated ... the Sherman Act, ... through a host of actions that illegally maintained the critical barrier to entry into, and hence its monopoly in, the market for operating systems for Intel-compatible personal computers. Second, Microsoft's several related means of illegally tying a Web browser to its operating system violated ... the Sherman Act."

"Third, Microsoft also violated ... the Sherman Act when it entered into a variety of illegally exclusionary agreements with personal computer manufacturers, with Internet access and on-line service providers, and with Internet content providers," the conclusions continue. "Finally, Microsoft's anticompetitive campaign to impair Navigator's competitive access to consumers constituted an unlawful attempt to monopolize the browser market in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act ... This Court should conclude that Microsoft's actions violate ... the Sherman Act and proceed to consideration of appropriate remedies."

Additionally, the 19 states have issued a separate memorandum that specifies the claims each state is making against Microsoft. Spelled out in agonizing detail, this long list of grievances is perhaps even more damaging to the software giant.

Microsoft has until January 17 to respond to the DOJ's conclusions. Judge Jackson will use the filings from each side as a basis for his own conclusions of law, which are expected in February 2000

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