Judge rules Microsoft broke antitrust laws

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U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on April 3 ruled Microsoft Corp. broke both federal and state antitrust laws in developing and pushing its Internet Explorer. In a stinging rebuke of the software giant, the Washington judge said Microsoft both used anticompetitive means to maintain its monopoly for the Windows operating system and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market. The judge said Microsoft pressured computer manufacturers not to include Netscape, wrote Windows code to make it more difficult for users to use rival products and incorporated its Internet Explorer browser in Windows in ways so that it couldn't be removed, though it couldn't demonstrate that the browser was better than others. Judge Jackson, however, rejected contentions that Microsoft's marketing deals with some companies amounted to unlawful exclusive dealing. The decision was a big win for states and the federal government, and means the trial now enters the stage where penalties are decided.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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