The Antitrust Case Against Microsoft Essay

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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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First, Microsoft ‘encouraged’ Compaq, Apple, and other computer manufacturers to promote only Internet Explorer, and to make that the default browser on their PC. This encouragement came in the way of threats to eliminate or delay licensing of operating systems, providing the browser for free to internet access providers, and bundling the software with the operating system under the guise of interactive ease for the consumer. This manipulation led to an increase in the browser’s sales by 45 to 50%, which paralleled the decline Netscape experienced in their market sales in 1998.6

Microsoft’s defense included a deposition of the company’s Chairman, Bill Gates, during which he appeared to be argumentative, evasive, and unresponsive. Evidence provided on behalf of the organization included videotapes of ways in which the company had supposedly eliminated the technical glitches that prevented users from deleting Internet Explorer and loading Netscape’s Navigator instead. These tapes were questioned and scrutinized by the government and found to be “inaccurate”.7 It seemed to me that the information the company brought forth as its defense was questionable and excusatory, rather than defensible and explanatory.

Examine the various remedies possible in this case. In light of the strength of the various parties’ positions in the case, what remedy would you advocate, and why?

The case against
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