Microsoft Found Guilty of Violating Sherman Anti-Trust Act

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

Washington, DC ( - A federal court judge has found Microsoft, Incorporated guilty of violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Judge Thomas Jackson in Washington, DC, ruled that Microsoft broke state laws by engaging in illegal monopolization in its company's policies, practices and business procedures.

Key to the case was an internal web browser Microsoft marketed in its software that placed competitors at a disadvantage.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says his corporation will appeal the court's decision.

The announcement of Judge Jackson's ruling had immediate impact on Wall Street.

Shares of Microsoft fell nearly 15% on Monday on volume of more than 129 million shares, making it the most actively traded stock on the NASDAQ exchange.

The sharp decline reduced the company's market value by some $80 billion and contributed to the NASDAQ's 349-point drop.

Monday's decline in the NASDAQ was the biggest single-day point loss in the history of the exchange, and the percentage loss of about 7.63 percent was the fifth biggest such decline for the technology-laden market.

The Justice Department, which brought the federal lawsuit, stated on Monday that it was "very pleased" with the anti-trust law ruling against Microsoft.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia joined the US Justice Department in filing its anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 1995.

Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein said that a settlement with Microsoft would be appropriate provided the software giant addressed its liability as a monopoly in bargaining for such a settlement.

However, Klein felt Judge Jackson's monopolization opinion on Monday was a strong and forceful one.

"I think it is a very strong opinion in the critical areas of monopolization and an attempt to monopolize. I think it's a very powerful legal analysis. One thing I want to urge people to read the court's (43-page) opinion. This opinion will be on the web. We would urge all Americans to give it their careful attention," Klein said.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said the states acted in tandem with the Justice Department, first, as law enforcement representatives of the people then as consumer protection and benefits agents in seeing this case to a successful conclusion.

Miller said everyone connected with filing and prosecuting the lawsuit was on the same page.

"We have the same goals. We have the same principles. We're both in this to have competition put back in the technology industry, to have Microsoft have to compete just like about every else does in America. Those central goals and values are shared by the Attorney General (Janet Reno), Joel (Assistant Attorney General Klein), and 19 states' attorneys general," Miller said.

Miller added that its only right that Microsoft divest itself of its monopolistic practices and re-enter the competitive computer technology industry as is proper in American business.

Republican presidential candidate George W Bush was the first politician to weigh in with a comment on the federal court decision against Microsoft, saying it's still a legal matter but a President's job is enforcing the law.

"Because the Microsoft case remains in litigation, no remedies have been decided, and is likely to be appealed, I do not think it's appropriate to discuss the specifics of a matter that is pending before the court.

"As President, I will fully enforce anti-trust laws to foster competition and innovation, to protect consumers, and to guard against anti-competitive conduct," Bush said.