Microsoft rivals surge as markets weigh up ruling

MICROSOFT'S rivals were the immediate winners following Friday's court ruling against the software giant, as its competitors in niche software markets saw their stocks rise yesterday. But Microsoft held firm; its stock quickly fell $7 but recovered to close in New York at $8915/16, down only $15/8, with five times the usual daily volume changing hands.

"The decision is certainly unsettling the competitive landscape, and there is an additional focus and spotlight on Microsoft's competitors," said Hambrecht & Quist analyst, Christopher Galvin. "But we don't know how they will be affected until a final determination is made." Other analysts also cautioned that there was no way to predict the final outcome of the landmark case. However, some are expecting that Microsoft will ultimately prevail on appeal.

Red Hat (the largest distributor of the Linux operating system, considered to be an alternative to Microsoft's Windows), the database software maker, Oracle, and the computer workstation developer, Sun Microsystems, were all regarded as possible beneficiaries of US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling that Microsoft is a monopoly that has bullied competitors and harmed consumers.

Red Hat shares gained $181/16 to $104 on Nasdaq. Oracle gained $3/4 to $597/16 and Sun Microsystems gained $23/16 to $1117/8 in heavy trading volumes.

"It could be positive for companies rallying at this point, although the timeframe for injunctive relief could be years away," said Morgan Stanley analyst Chuck Philips. "By that time, it may not matter in a lot of the areas covered."

A court-ordered break-up of the world's leading software company, although seen as highly unlikely, became more conceivable after Judge Jackson's 207-page opinion was issued on Friday, backing the US government's anti- trust regulators on nearly every point.

Even in the long-shot scenario of a break-up, companies might not be able to shift enough funding into research and development fast enough to take huge chunks of market share, Mr Philips said.

"There is a limit to what some of these companies can spend on R&D," he said, adding that companies that are in alliances with Microsoft are not moving at this point to hedge their bets.

"Most companies hedge anyway, and they have seen these anti-trust actions lag on for years before in other cases. For some time to come, people will need to be compatible with what Microsoft is doing anyway," said Mr Philips.

Analysts say there is no way of knowing at present whether the continuing litigation will actually help competitors to eat into Microsoft's market domination in the long run. Despite the legal challenges it is facing, Microsoft commands as much as 90 per cent of the global market for personal computer operating systems.

Even if action taken against Microsoft falls short of a full break-up, state and federal anti-trust regulators could seek fundamental changes in the way Microsoft does business, making a settlement improbable and setting the stage for an appeals process that could drag on for years.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power