Microsoft is dead - long live Microsoft!
The antitrust proceedings against Microsoft appear to have come to an end for the time being and 'The decision means a victory for consumers!', is how US Attorney General John Ashcroft interprets the judgment. But practically nothing is left of the former demands.
When the antitrust proceedings started in 1998, the suing US states had set great goals for themselves. In order to protect the markets, the competition and the customers, the monopoly, which they consider to be too strong, should go to the collar. Splitting was the motto and possibly the publication of important company secrets to support the idle competition. And although Microsoft was proven in the course of the proceedings that it had illegally conquered the market, in particular with the Windows operating system, and outperformed the competition, the preliminary verdict was now poor for the time being. The federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly declared an out-of-court settlement between the software giant and the ministers of justice to be final and thus left out demands from nine other states for tougher measures.
Jon von Tetzchner, head of the Norwegian software company Opera: 'Microsoft was found guilty. But there was no effective legal action, no real punishment. '
The agreement reached is has already largely been implemented by Microsoft. SP1 for Windows XP makes it possible to deactivate previously dominant services such as Internet Explorer, Media Player or Outlook and to make room for alternative developments. The fact that this function is hidden behind a series of menu items, barely recognizable for normal users, seems to be irrelevant here. Analysts, on the other hand, see the judgment as a 'liberation' that will finally lead the company to big profits in previously less developed markets. TheWords from Don Gher, Chief Investment Officer at Microsoft shareholder Coldstream Capital Management, should run down the backs of the antitrust advocates.
'The verdict has freed Microsoft from the shackles. Now Microsoft can use its enormous cash - Use stocks more effectively, for example to buy back your own shares or take over other companies. '