U.S. Proposes Microsoft Breakup

BOSTON (04/28/2000) - As expected, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today proposed that a federal judge order the breakup of Microsoft Corp. into two separate competing companies.

The DOJ proposal calls for splitting Microsoft into one company for the Windows operating system and another for software applications, including Office and the Internet Explorer browser.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled earlier this month that Microsoft has used its operating system monopoly to illegally attempt to squelch competition and to dominate the Internet browser market in violation of federal antitrust laws. The DOJ, 19 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia filed the antitrust suit against Microsoft two years ago.

Microsoft has said that it will appeal any recommendation that the company be broken up. The company also has said that if the government called for a breakup it might ask for more time to file its counter proposal, which is due by May 10 under a schedule set by Judge Jackson. As the schedule is now, the government has until May 17 to respond to Microsoft's response, which could include an alternative "remedy" proposal. After that, Judge Jackson is to hear oral arguments regarding remedies on May 24.

Microsoft also said after Judge Jackson issued his "conclusions of law" -- or the verdict -- in the case that it will appeal his findings that the company used its monopoly power in violation of antitrust law.

Details to follow.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or http://www.microsoft.com/. The DOJ, in Washington, D.C., can be reached at http://www.usdoj.gov/.

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