Monitor: Microsoft Anti-trust trial

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American reaction to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's "findings of fact" that Microsoft stifles innovation and deters investment in its competitors

The Seattle Times

THE DECISION demolished Microsoft's defense and signalled that it would likely be found guilty of violating antitrust law. Despite Microsoft's assertion that the lawsuit was a threat to innovation, the judge found that the company itself had stifled innovation using its market power to bully the industry. Software competition should shift back to where it belongs, on the merits of the products. Microsoft should have no fear of that contest.

The Norman Transcript

THE COMPUTER industry is changing rapidly, but that doesn't mean laws and ethics don't apply. We're pleased to see Mr Jackson's ruling cut through the nonsense about impossible-to-regulate high-tech fields - cybernerds are subject to the same rules as everybody else. We've also been pleased to see that Bill Gates is coming to some sense of responsibility and sharing some of his wealth in philanthropic projects, even if it's only a PR gesture.

San Francisco Chronicle

MICROSOFT'S CLAIMS of innocence were absurd. Their goal was more than to continue selling nine out of every 10 operating systems in an increasingly computer-dependent planet. More than anything, Microsoft wanted to expand the definition of operating systems to stake out additional monopolies. Attempts to force-feed its browser on distributors was a classic case of monopolistic strong-arming.

The Item

MICROSOFT'S TEN-THUMBED efforts at self-defense put one in mind of H.L. Mencken: "The older I get the more I crave competence, simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology." But the damage Microsoft can do pales in comparison to what government can do when trying to lasso the whippet of high-tech industry with a lariat woven of laws from an era long before the hurricane of creative destruction began howling through an industry subject to a series of highly perishable supremacies.

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