United States vs. Microsoft is one the largest, most controversial antitrust lawsuits in American history. Many claim the government is wrongly punishing Microsoft for being innovative and successful, arguing that Windows dominates the market because of the product’s popularity, not because of malpractice by the parent company. Others argue in favor of the government, claiming that Microsoft’s practices conflict with the free market ideal. There are many arguments for both sides of the lawsuit, but what the case really comes down to is this: does the government have the right to interfere in today’s marketplace? Or is Microsoft violating laws that are rightfully imposed by the government? The following sections outline the basic case for and against Microsoft and the possible alternative policies.
II. Those Affected by the Outcome
There are many different groups that have will be affected by the eventual outcome of the Microsoft vs. the U.S. government case. Microsoft faces the possibility of a breakup, or having to give up the source code for the Windows operating system. Consumers, both individuals and businesses, have a stake in the outcomes. If the competing operating systems and software suddenly flood the market, prices will go down, but different applications and software might not be compatible with one another. Businesses might have to restructure their computer systems by installing new software. The government also has a stake in the result of the trial. The federal government has an obligation toward its constituents to make sure that they are being treated fairly by businesses.
III. Empirical Evidence
The case against Microsoft essentially stem...
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Economides, Nicholas, “The Microsoft Antitrust Case,”
http://www.stern.nyu.edu/networks/Microsoft_Antitrust.pdf, 2 April 2001
Lehrer, Jim, “A News Hour with Jim Lehrer”,
1 November 2002
Microsoft Corporation, “Windows Products and Technologies History,” http://www.microsoft.com/windows/WinHistoryProGraphic.mspx, 24 January 2004.
Newman, Nathan, “From Microsoft World to Microsoft World: How Microsoft is Building a Global Economy,” http://www.netaction.org/msoft/world/MSWord2World.html#part2, 20 January 2004.
Salsman, Richard. The Microsoft Defense Site. 24 January 2004.
The Washington Post, “The Making of a Monopoly”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wprv/business/images/microsoft1.htm, 24 January 2004.
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