Microsoft Antitrust Trial Statement

BY CCIA Staff
November 5, 1999

The following is a statement by Ed Black,

President of the Computer & Communications Industry Association:

Washington, D.C., November 5, 1999 – Today’s findings are of tremendous importance to consumers, the entire technology industry, and anyone who uses personal computers. Since our founding 26 years ago, Computer & Communications Industry Association has had as one of our principal missions the preservation of vigorous, fair and open competition, because such competition is the bedrock upon which our industry’s innovation and prosperity is based. CCIA is committed to fighting policies and practices, whether by government or monopolists, which threaten competition. We have been working since 1995 to preserve and restore competition in those areas where Microsoft’s monopoly power is stifling competition and innovation.

The Justice Department and 19 State Attorneys General independently concluded that Microsoft was breaking the law. Now a federal judge acting as an objective and independent fact finder has agreed with many of the key facts upon which those conclusions were made. The record is now clear. Microsoft is a monopoly, and it has grossly abused its monopoly power in violation of the law in a way that has harmed competition, innovation and American consumers.

The findings are a blueprint indicating the type of legal and remedy decisions yet to be made. The restoration of competition and the prevention of future monopoly abuse are now possible. Until this trial the public had not seen all the evidence of Microsoft’s attempts to stifle new products and services, nor understood the extent of their illegal behavior, which is at the core of their overall business strategy.

Now we have a solid base of facts that demonstrates the scope and breadth of the monopoly’s misconduct. This provides the foundation for the type of sweeping remedies that will be necessary if competition is to be restored, and future abuse prevented.

Microsoft has been alternating between its “chicken little” refrain, that a strong remedy against it will be tantamount to the end of innovation and prosperity, and that on the other hand, the combination of technological changes and competitive forces [in unrelated markets] make concerns about its importance irrelevant. Both these claims are wrong.

There are many well-positioned companies, and innovation flourishes in most sectors of our industry. But where monopoly has extended its reach, innovation and consumer choices disappear. The issue for the court is the PC operating system market. Microsoft’s competitors in other markets are not relevant. Even if they were, Microsoft has not yet targeted its monopoly power on all the markets they are entering, partly because of the legal risks flowing from the trial.

Microsoft has tried throughout this trial to diminish the importance of the law and distract attention away from the facts of this case. But the facts of this case have been very clear, and have focused on Microsoft’s anti-competitive behavior and illegal tactics, which they have used to steamroller companies, and force unwanted business deals on most, crushing the few who would not bend to their will.

Many in the technology industry are heartened by Judge Jackson’s findings today. No matter how large or wealthy a company like Microsoft may be, they are not above the law. These findings are a blow against Microsoft’s monopoly and a victory for consumers.

 

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