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Microsoft Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 21:19 GMT 22:19 UK
The Trial: Key Moments
The legal action against Microsoft has lasted for more than two years. The outcome will potentially shape the future of consumer computing, communications and the internet.

Click on the stories below to read BBC News Online's extensive coverage of the trial's key moments.


  • June 7, 2000: Break-up ordered
    The judge orders Microsoft to be broken up into two companies.

  • May 25, 2000: Three way split?
    The judge says that Microsoft may have to be split in three and asks both sides for new submissions.

  • April 28, 2000: 'Break up Microsoft'
    In its proposal of 'remedies', the Department of Justice says Microsoft should be split in two.

  • April 3, 2000: Microsoft found guilty
    Microsoft is found to have broken US competition laws, 23 months after the legal case was launched.


  • April 1, 2000: Talks break down
    Attempts to reach a settlement are abandoned after more than four months, with the mediator saying the differences were too great to be breached.


  • February 22, 2000: Final arguments
    The judge hints that a break-up may follow as the two sides have a last chance to put their cases.


  • November 19, 1999: Mediator appointed
    Judge Richard Posner is appointed to mediate between the two sides in an attempt to reach an agreement.


  • November 5, 1999: Judge finds against Microsoft
    The judge rules that Microsoft wields monopoly power in personal computer operating systems - as he publishes his 207 page findings of fact.

  • September 22, 1999: Microsoft knows "no limits"
    The US government winds up its case by saying that Microsoft was a company that didn't know when to stop but the company hits back alleging "red herrings, mis-statements and omissions".

  • June 8, 1999: IBM executive tells of Microsoft tactics
    A former IBM executive gives a first-hand account of how his company learned the hard way it could not do without the software superpower's operating system.

  • June 1, 1999: Microsoft 'bribed' companies
    Microsoft used its monopoly to give away the Internet Explorer browser in an attempt to force competitors from the market, a senior academic tells the trial.

  • April 28, 1999: Microsoft deposes competitors
    The software giant calls in witnesses from America Online and Sun Microsystems in an effort to prove that Microsoft faces a tough battle for survival against a determined opposition.

  • March 24, 1999: Microsoft's settlement offer
    Microsoft approaches some of the 19 states co-suing the company with a settlement offer.

  • February 12, 1999: Lemon Dog vs Microsoft
    How one Scottish software company launched a bold challenge to the largest computer company in the world - and won a settlement.

  • January 12, 1999: Microsoft begins its defence
    Microsoft's rebuttal of the US government's allegations begins with a closed hearing to allow testimony from Dell and Compaq, neither of which want to reveal how much they pay Bill Gates' corporation for Windows.

  • January 12, 1999: Microsoft's 12 angry men
    After nearly three months and hundreds of megabytes of testimony, the BBC assesses what the 12 government witnesses said.

  • November 10, 1998: Microsoft 'tried to influence Intel'
    Microsoft tried to persuade the world's largest computer chip manufacturer, Intel, to use a Microsoft-developed version of the Java programming language, an Intel executive tells the court.

  • November 4, 1998: Gates denies undermining Sun
    Bill Gates tells prosecutors in video-taped evidence to the trial that he did not discuss undermining a rival.

  • October 28, 1998: Microsoft defends 'visionary' Gates
    Microsoft opens its defence case and accuses the US government of a personal attack against Bill Gates - and adds that it is the consumer that has already chosen the Windows operating system.

  • October 21, 1998: Microsoft turns defence into attack
    Lawyers for the software corporation allege that rival Netscape attempted to reduce competition in the Internet browser market - rather than Microsoft as charged by the US government.

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