Comments of Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader on Microsoft Decision
April 3, 2000
Microsoft has illegally crushed innovative competitors and harmed consumers. As the court found, it has done "violence to the competitive process" through a set of wide-ranging illegal tactics. Its predatory and exclusionary practices have saddled consumers with inferior technologies and blocked innovations which would have otherwise occurred.
Microsoft doesn't respect the antitrust laws, and it has amply demonstrated that it can't be trusted. The company has shown its contempt for any court-imposed changes in its conduct. If the government ends the antitrust case by seeking changes in its conduct, but not in its structure, Microsoft can be expected to creatively evade the thrust of such agreements.
The court must break up this monopoly corporation. Creating separate companies for the Microsoft operating system (Windows) and applications (Microsoft Office) would be a first step, and the court should also require Microsoft to divest itself of its browser -- the software product that led to the antitrust case.
Other remedies the court should also pursue include:
* Prevent Microsoft from penalizing OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that carry non-Microsoft software.
* Microsoft should be required to disclose Windows source code to competitors. It should be required to meet specific timetables for disclosure and be subjected to constant government monitoring.
* Microsoft or the company which gains control of Microsoft Office should be required to make its applications compatible with at least two non-Microsoft platforms.
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