Strategies Set in Microsoft Antitrust Case

By Joel Brinkley N. Y. Times News Service | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 17, 1998 | Go to article overview

Strategies Set in Microsoft Antitrust Case


Joel Brinkley N. Y. Times News Service, THE JOURNAL RECORD


WASHINGTON -- After nearly a year of testimony, acrimony and debate, the opposing parties in the antitrust suit against Microsoft appear to have settled on strategies for the upcoming trial.

For Microsoft -- accused of bullying competitors, bribing allies and forcing customers to use the company's products, like them or not -- one general defense has come down to this: So what? Everyone does it. That is how business operates.

As John Warden, a Microsoft lawyer, put it: "All companies compete; that's how the market works."

But lawyers for the Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general who filed the landmark lawsuit against the software giant four months ago predict that Microsoft's own leaders will prove the government's case. In hundreds of e-mail messages and memorandums written over the last several years, most of which will be entered as evidence, these executives unabashedly laid out their plans and intentions.

What the documents show, said David Boies, a Justice Department lawyer, is that Microsoft "bribed people to take their products, used predatory pricing and other anti-competitive tactics."

If every company behaves this way, as Microsoft asserts, "then we're going to be very busy" in the coming years, one antitrust official remarked.

As the two sides offered their competing strategies on Friday, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court seemed equally willing to challenge both.

For example, one part of the government's suit accuses Microsoft of requiring Internet service providers to support Internet Explorer, Microsoft's browser for navigating the World Wide Web, in exchange for receiving promotional space on a part of the main Windows screen known as the channel bar.

"If your browser is so good, why do you need all those covenants anyway?" Jackson asked.

Warden, the Microsoft lawyer, responded that the arrangements were simply "promotional marketing agreements, very common tools of competition, just like Pepsi makes a deal with Pizza Hut to feature Pepsi exclusively."

The judge responded that such marketing arrangements did not exist in the computer industry until Microsoft introduced them.

"But Coca-Cola certainly does it," Warden said.

"Yes, but Coke is not a monopoly," the judge answered. As he had noted earlier, the rules governing how a monopolist can behave are very different from those governing other companies.

Jackson seemed skeptical at times of the government's position, too. Stephen Houck, an assistant attorney general from New York, read from several internal memos and documents that the government has introduced as evidence. One was a note that an employee sent to Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, in March 1997 suggesting ways to increase use of Internet Explorer and take customers away from Netscape, the company's main competitor in the Web browser market.

"It would be a mistake not to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows," Microsoft's operating system, the employee wrote. "If we take Internet Explorer away from the operating system, Netscape users won't switch to us."

Jackson then said rhetorically: "These documents are not necessarily inconsistent with the behavior of a competitor."

To that, Houck responded: "No, it is inconsistent to use your monopoly position in operating systems to gain market share and disadvantage competitors.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Strategies Set in Microsoft Antitrust Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.