Case Will Affect U.S. Politically, Analyst Says

AUCKLAND (05/05/2000) - The Department of Justice (DoJ) case against Microsoft has ramifications for U.S. political power abroad, warns international affairs site Stratfor.com.

"Microsoft has given the United States a strategic asset that can be leveraged in a wide variety of areas, from military to economic. Controlling the universal operating system should not be underestimated in importance. It may prove more important than oil."

Stratfor, a private intelligence-analysis firm from Texas, reports the DoJ case may have implications for the political world as much as for those in IT.

"If information is power, whatever country provides the means for managing information is in a uniquely powerful position."

Stratfor analysts say one unforeseen consequence of Microsoft's dominant position has been the "magnification of American power" as the company has helped spread American culture around the globe, not to mention giving the nation "unparalleled dominance in computing".

While Stratfor acknowledges "there is little doubt but that Microsoft is a monopoly" it is concerned about the outcome of any DoJ-sponsored break-up of the company.

"To be quite cynical, the ability of the U.S. computing industry to draw off the best and brightest programmers from foreign countries not only strengthens the U.S. position economically, but undermines the strategic capabilities of potential economic and military competitors."

Beyond that, the site warns, the implications of any break-up are far reaching and not yet defined.

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