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US government slams Microsoft's antitrust proposal

Push for breakup continues


As expected the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has lambasted Microsoft's proposal to modify its behavior in order to restore competition in the software industry.

The DOJ repeated its call for the software titan to be split in two.

The purpose of the remedy should be to end Microsoft's unlawful conduct, prevent the vendor from breaking the law in the future, and restore competition in the software industry, the DOJ said in its filing yesterday (17 May).

Microsoft's proposal does nothing to address the last issue, and very little to address the first two, the DOJ added.

"Microsoft's proposed remedy is neither serious or sensible," the DOJ concluded.

The filing also argues that Microsoft hasn't shown good reason why the company shouldn't be broken in two, as the DOJ suggested in its own remedy proposal filed two weeks ago.

Evidence during the trial showed that Microsoft's conduct eliminated a serious threat to its monopoly posed by Netscape Web browser and Sun's Java programming language, the DOJ said.

The DOJ and 17 U.S. state attorneys general recommended late last month that the judge overseeing the antitrust case - U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson - should smash Microsoft into two separate companies - one focussed on the vendor's Windows operating system and the other focussed on software applications.

The DOJ also recommended behavioral restrictions should be placed on Microsoft until the company breakup takes effect. The restrictions include requiring Microsoft to make key Windows APIs (application programming interfaces) available to ISVs (independent software vendors) to give them a more equal chance of creating programs that compete with Microsoft's.

A week ago, Microsoft asked Judge Jackson to reject the U.S. government's "radical request" to break up the company.

Instead, the software giant proposed a set of relatively mild behavioral restrictions, including placing limits on the way it deals with its Windows customers, and offering a version of its Windows operating system that hides the icon for Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser.


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