Microsoft, DOJ present final pre-verdict arguments

Microsoft Corporation and the U.S. Department of Justice presented their final pre-verdict arguments Tuesday in written form, effectively closing the first chapter of the historic Microsoft antitrust trial. Needless to say, both sides differ sharply in their portrayals of the trial results: Microsoft says that the DOJ failed to prove its case, while the DOJ contends that Microsoft has acted illegally in a bid to maintain its monopoly.

Microsoft dismissed the antitrust suit as a "vehicle for Microsoft's competitors to attack Microsoft rather than compete in the marketplace." The company says that its bundling of Internet Explorer into Windows helps consumers use the Web more easily and wasn't designed to put Netscape Communications out of business. In fact, Microsoft says in its 43-page filing, the company has made it possible for the Internet to grow faster than would be otherwise possible.

"Microsoft's actions have produced higher quality Web browsing software and operating systems at lower cost to consumers, thereby contributing to the explosive growth of the Internet,'' Microsoft's filing reads.

The DOJ, of course, disagrees and its 776-page filing points to a legacy of abuse by the software giant. According to the DOJ, Microsoft is guilty of using its monopoly in operating systems to illegally enter other markets, pressure computer makers, and "distort the pace of innovation." These tactics were used to keep the Windows monopoly alive, not benefit consumers, the filing says.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson will review the filings as he prepares his decision, which is expected by the end of the year. If Microsoft loses the case, as expected, the company could tie up an appellate court for years

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