Remember back to June 2001 when the Appeals Court in the Microsoft case reversed and remanded Judge Jackson’s proposed penalties against Microsoft? At that time, people who should have known better (Dan Gillmor comes to mind) went around grasping at straws that this was somehow a loss for Microsoft.
Of course, here the more sensible view prevailed,
As for the remedies, they’re headed toward Microsoft but what are the odds this case will ever go before another judge? Very, very low. With the Appeals Court making a breakup impossible, Microsoft now has the leverage it needs to reach an advantageous settlement. This is a prospect the Justice Department is going to be very amenable to since it seems clear that John Ashcroft and the rest of the Bush administration don’t want this case.
This whole thing will almost conclude with a slap-on-the-wrist-fine and some meaningless agreement in which Microsoft promises not to enter into exclusionary deals with ISPs and to stop threatening competitors like Intel who want to enter into deals with Microsoft’s competitors.
Of course there was a settlement that amounted to a slap on the wrist, and today a judge upheld that settlement agreement with only minor changes.
The interesting thing about Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is how far she went in agreeing with critics of the entire lawsuit. Groups that were out there claiming that this was a classic abuse of antitrust to benefit MS competitors were derided as sycophantic spokespersons for MS who didn’t have a clue, but here’s Judge Kollar-Kotelly strongly criticizing the states and others for just this problem. Here’s what she wrote about Sun’s Scott McNealy’s claim that Microsoft’s failure to include a JVM was evidence of monopolistic behavior,
The incompatibility of Microsoft’s JVM is a non-issue…Mr. Green’s testimony is revealed as little more than an attempt to advance Sun-compliant Java technologies through this proceeding.
Dave Winer doesn’t get it either, insisting that the decision is bad because it harms Microsoft’s competitors. But antitrust was never intended to help a company’s competitors, and to suggest that it should do so is a complete perversion of what little justification there is for antitrust laws in the first place.
Rivals come up short in decision. Declan McCullagh, CNET.Com, November 1, 2002.