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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 16:17 GMT
Ashcroft lauds 'historic' Microsoft deal
US Attorney General John Ashcroft
Ashcroft: 'Settlement removes uncertainty in market'
The US attorney general John Ashcroft has praised the Justice Department's "historic" anti-trust settlement with Microsoft.

In no way did the White House seek to shape or influence the outcome

John Ashcroft
He said the deal brings the long-running case to a swift and satisfactory conclusion, which "has fully addressed the anti-competitive conduct that was outlined by the district court and the appellate court".

"This historic settlement will bring effective relief to the market and ensure that consumers will have more choices in meeting their computer needs," Mr Ashcroft said.

"It is the right result for consumers, the right result for the economy and the right result for the government," he told a news conference at the US Justice Department in Washington.

And it removed "uncertainty in the computer market - a crucial factor in today's economy".

Faster resolution

Department of Justice anti-trust chief Charles James, who was responsible for hammering out the deal with the software giant, said it was "consistent with the relief we might have achieved in litigation".

But it had been achieved at a faster pace than a legal remedy, which was crucial in the fast-changing computer industry.

Mr Ashcroft said many of the 18 US states, whose attorney has asked for more time to approve the proposed settlement, were in agreement with the government.

But he declined to say how many states were holding out for tougher penalties.

September 11 'had no effect'

Mr Ashcroft stressed that the events of 11 September had not influenced the outcome in any way.

And, he added, it did not matter that Microsoft has never properly acknowledged that it acted illegally.

What mattered was that the software giant would comply with the demands of the settlement and stop engaging in illegal conduct, he said.

He also stressed that the White House had not gone over the proposed settlement.

"In no way did the White House seek to shape or influence the outcome," Mr Ashcroft said.

Microsoft is due to comment on the settlement at a news conference scheduled for 1700 GMT.

The BBC's John Moylan
"The question is whether the remedies go far enough"
US attorney general John Ashcroft
"A competitive software industry is vital to our economy"
See also:

02 Nov 01 | Business
Microsoft reaches anti-trust deal
02 Nov 01 | Business
Outline of proposed settlement
02 Nov 01 | Business
Microsoft deal 'faces delay'
24 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Microsoft's XP extends reach
06 Sep 01 | Business
U-turn on Microsoft break-up
13 Jul 01 | Business
US seeks quick end to Microsoft case
18 Oct 01 | Business
Microsoft beats expectations
19 Jul 01 | Business
Microsoft asks for court review
13 Jul 01 | Business
New Mexico breaks ranks on Microsoft
12 Jul 01 | Business
Microsoft in Windows climbdown
25 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Windows XP hits the streets
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