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How a decade of antitrust oversight has changed your PC
Tech Business
Written by Gizmo   
Thursday, 10 June 2010 21:46

From ZDNet by Ed Bott

It was 10 years ago this week that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his final judgment in U.S. versus Microsoft. Two months earlier, after almost two years of legal proceedings, the judge found that Microsoft had illegally abused its monopoly in the operating system market, and on June 7, 2000, he ordered that the company be broken up into two separate and completely independent companies.

That judgment turned out to be not so final, of course. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit overturned much of Judge Jackson's decision a year later, including the breakup provision. The appellate court also ordered him removed from the case, saying his secret meetings with the media and "numerous offensive comments about Microsoft" had tainted his impartiality. (If you're a law and technology geek, Dahlia Lithwick's dissection of the appeals court judgment is masterful and still hilarious.) Still, it was a loss for Microsoft and strong motivation to settle. After a few months of negotiations, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it had reached a settlement with Microsoft that severely restrained its behavior and placed it under direct oversight for years. Conveniently, that happened around the time Windows XP was released to the public in late 2001.

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