5 years ago: US judge calls Microsoft a monopoly

But the company still got off easy...

But the company still got off easy...

08.11.99: Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson releases his findings in Microsoft's US antitrust case, saying the company has abused its monopoly power.

The 207-page statement says Microsoft is a monopoly and has used that monopoly to inhibit competitors and crush innovation.

Jackson's findings will form the basis of a later ruling. Expected penalties could include a fine or even breaking up the company, though some speculate Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) could settle out of court.

On its website Microsoft describes the findings are "one step in what is likely to be a lengthy legal process".

08.11.04: Despite being found a monopoly, Microsoft ended up getting off easy in the US. A court recommended it be broken up but the company got that overturned in an appeal and ended up settling the case with the DoJ in November 2001 by agreeing to minor business limitations.

Microsoft then settled another 100 private lawsuits from by offering to donate $1bn in software, training and support to schools - hardly a sacrifice and more of a way to get in on the educational market dominated by Apple.

In Europe Microsoft also managed to evade any harsh antitrust penalties. The EU ruled the company was acting anticompetitively in the media-player market. and levied a €497m fine on Gates and co. It also ordered the company to sell an alternative unbundled version of Windows in Europe.

Microsoft has paid the fine but the appeal of the EU decision is currently under review by European courts.