Federal Court Rules Microsoft a Monopoly (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: In the first court battle between the federal government and Microsoft, a district court judge ruled that Microsoft was a monopoly—a decision beginning a new era of government intervention in the high-tech computer industry.
From Obscurity to Dominance
In 1980, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) entered into an agreement with Microsoft, a small software company, to produce an operating system for the new IBM personal computer. Over the next twelve years, this small company moved from obscurity to being the largest software company in the world. In 1992, Microsoft dissolved its partnership with IBM by introducing Windows 3.1. The success of Windows 3.1, Microsoft Word, and other software releases such as Windows 95 gave Microsoft a dominant position in some software markets. This caused some people to wonder if the company had become too large and if its sheer size might stifle competition.
Many recognized that a new type of operating system would ultimately replace the desktop operating systems of the 1990’s. This new operating system would include integrated access to the World Wide Web as well as support for the convergence of video, audio, and data on desktop computers. Microsoft recognized this trend and initiated a long-range project to develop such an operating system. The new .NET run-time achieved this by adding features to Microsoft’s operating systems,...
(The entire section is 1142 words.)
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Federal Court Rules That Microsoft Should Be Split into Two Companies (Great Events from History II: Business and Commerce Series)
Article abstract: A federal court ruled that Microsoft had used predatory practices unfairly to monopolize the web browser market and ordered its breakup.
Summary of Event
The federal court ruling against Microsoft on June 7, 2000, was the apparent culmination of a legal battle going back to 1991, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began investigating whether Microsoft was monopolizing the personal computer (PC) operating systems market. The commission closed its investigation in 1993 after its members deadlocked on votes formally to file a complaint against Microsoft. During that same year, the Justice Department and European Commission began their own independent antitrust investigations. These probes ended in July, 1994, when Microsoft agreed to alter its restrictive contracts with PC manufacturers and remove other restrictions that had been imposed on software companies.
The 1994 consent decree came back to haunt Microsoft in 1997. In October that year, the Justice Department sued the company for forcing computer makers to include Internet Explorer, its web browser software, on new PCs using its Windows operating software. The Justice Department contended that Microsoft had bundled Internet Explorer with Windows 95 in order to capture market share from Netscape Communications Corporation. On December 11, 1997, federal court judge Thomas Jackson issued a preliminary injunction to stop Microsoft from...
(The entire section is 843 words.)