Analysis: MS will survive -- intact

Despite predictions that Microsoft will be splintered, a break-up is unlikely

Judge Jackson's penchant to support the government in this case is well known. But even the most astute trial watchers were surprised by his findings, which adopt nearly every argument advanced by the Justice Department's legal team.

The 'pattern' here may be egregious, but none of the individual wrongs require a break-up to get fixed. As many expected, Jackson has set the stage for a finding of sweeping anti-competitive conduct by the Redmond company. In a flurry, he quickly recounted how Microsoft used its operating system monopoly to injure a list of victims, including Intel, IBM, Apple, Compaq, Netscape, and several others.

More surprisingly, Jackson goes further, revisiting the issue that originally sparked the litigation in 1997: the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows. Using painstaking detail, Jackson concludes that there was "no technical justification" for the integration, which was motivated, he says, purely with the intent to shut out Netscape.

All of the above may sound devastating to Microsoft. There's a certain drama associated with a finding that Microsoft engaged in a "pattern" of predatory conduct. But the case is only as strong as its individual parts. And the bottom line remains: It won't take drastic measures to remedy Microsoft's actions.

Despite doomsday predictions that the company will be splintered, a series of strongly worded injunctions may be the most reasonable remedy. The "pattern" here may be egregious, but none of the individual wrongs require a break-up to get fixed.

Take me to the DoJ/Microsoft special .


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