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Saturday, November 6, 1999 Published at 02:34 GMT

Business: The Company File

Judge's ruling in excerpts

The following are key excerpts from findings issued on Friday by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the Microsoft antitrust trial:

On monopoly power

"Three main facts indicate that Microsoft enjoys monopoly power. First, Microsoft's share of Intel-compatible PC operating systems is extremely large and stable.

Second, Microsoft's dominant market share is protected by a high barrier to entry.

Third, and largely as a result of that barrier, Microsoft's customers lack a comercially viable alternative to Windows."

On the harm to consumers

"Many of these actions have harmed consumers in ways that are immediate and easily discernible.

They have also caused less direct but nevertheless serious and far-reaching consumer harm by distorting competition."

On the harm to other firms

"Through its conduct toward Netscape, IBM, Compaq, Intel, and others, Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products."

"The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's self-interest."

On the battle with Netscape

"Microsoft has largely succeeded in exiling (Netscape's) Navigator from the crucial OEM (original equipment manufacturer) distribution channel."

Referring to Microsoft's success in persuading AOL to favour its Explorer browser over Netscape's browser, Judge Jackson said:

"The AOL coup which Microsoft accomplished only at tremendous expense to itself and considerable deprivation of consumers' freedom of choice thus contributed to extinguishing the threat that Navigator posed to application's barrier to entry.

"In order to gain AOL's acceptance of these restrictions, Microsoft accorded AOL free desktop placement that undermined its own MSN (Microsoft Network) in which Microsoft had invested hundreds of millions of dollars."

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