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Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Government and industry hail ruling

Janet Reno: Microsoft has been held accountable
The US government and many businesses have welcomed the decision that Microsoft abused monopoly power, saying that consumers could now look forward to the benefits of greater competition.

The Microsoft Trial
US Attorney General Janet Reno said Microsoft had been "held accountable for its illegal conduct by a court of law".

"Throughout this process the goal has been to give consumers the benefits of competition," Ms Reno said.

She said competition enabled more innovation, better products, lower prices and more choices.


For Joel Klein, head of the Justice Department's anti-trust division, Monday's verdict means that "no company, no matter how powerful or how successful, can refuse to play by the rules".

Mr Klein has been aggressive in pursuing Microsoft through civil action, sometimes sitting in court to watch the proceedings and occasionally speaking to the press.

"The department is committed to finding a remedy that will protect consumers, innovation and competition by putting an end to Microsoft's widespread abuses... and to rectifying its unlawful attempt to monopolise the internet browser market," Mr Klein said after the ruling.

Wall Street analyst Brian Goodstadt warned that the ruling could spark a flood of lawsuits against the software giant.

"Anyone who thinks they have been harmed by Microsoft can sue them," he said.

"The company has a huge warchest to fight this, but it could be a long and expensive process."

Competitors call for break-up

Rival software businesses and computer manufacturers hailed the ruling and called for the courts to order Microsoft's break-up.

Sun Microsystems, which testified against Microsoft at the trial, said that the courts now must come up with "significant remedies to break Microsoft's hold on the browser market".

"Microsoft's power is every bit as strong - even greater - than when this case started," Sun's chief general counsel, Michael Morris, asserted.

And Jim Barksdale, who was head of rival Netscape whose browser had been overtaken by Microsoft's, said: "It was very gratifying and vindicating for people who worked so hard at Netscape.

"The judge seems to have agreed pretty conclusively with what we said for four and a half years, that these guys would stop at nothing," he said.

But some in the industry expressed the fear that now the government would become too closely involved in running the industry, which would weaken its competitive edge.

"Now we have a good a idea of what it would be like to have the government run the computer industry," said Jonathan Zuck of the Association for Competitive Technology, which represents software and hardware companies.

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See also:

03 Apr 00 | Business
Microsoft to appeal
03 Apr 00 | Business
US v Microsoft: The spin begins
03 Apr 00 | Business
Tech shares hit by Microsoft case
22 Feb 00 | Microsoft
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