No federal user impact expected from Microsoft ruling

No federal user impact expected from Microsoft ruling

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

APRIL 4—Monday's ruling by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson that Microsoft Corp. violated antitrust laws and abused its monopoly power will have no immediate impact on PC prices or software features.

General Services Administration spokesman Bill Bearden said, "We don't expect any effect, but it's too early to predict."

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., joined the Justice Department in bringing the consolidated United States vs. Microsoft case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1998. A slow winding of subsequent suits and appeals through the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal and state courts could take many more years.

After settlement negotiations failed last week, Jackson, as expected, found in favor of the plaintiffs. He is expected to follow up soon with legal remedies that could range from splitting up the company to regulating its business practices.

Jackson said last year in his finding of facts that Gateway Inc. and IBM Corp., "which in various ways have resisted Microsoft's efforts to enlist them in its efforts to preserve the applications barrier to entry, pay higher prices" for Microsoft software than do Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Jackson said the latter three PC makers have had less contentious relationships with Microsoft.

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