Judge: Microsoft violated Sherman anti-trust act

— 7:33 PM on April 3, 2000

Shortly after the market's close today, federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his ruling in the Microsoft anti-trust case, concluding that Microsoft unlawfully used its operating system monopoly to monopolize the web browser market. (See reports at News.com and ZDNet for decent coverage.) I am compelled by the argument that the 19 involved states' attorneys general played a pivotal role in the breakdown of talks between MS and the DOJ.

During the course of the day, as it became clear a ruling was imminent, the NASDAQ index took a nose dive, losing 7.6 of its value. MSFT is also part of the Dow, but the Dow was up overall today. If you're wondering why the two indexes were affected differently, have a look at this bit from the Washington Post link above:

Microsoft, which has been trading places with Cisco Systems as the world's largest company by market capitalization, affected the Nasdaq more dramatically than it did the Dow because the Nasdaq is a weighted index, giving more significance to larger companies. The Dow gives equal weight to each of its 30 components.
So NASDAQ was slaughtered, but the Dow made out fairly well.

As for the ruling itself, I am no legal expert, but my sense is that justice was served. On the face of it, the claim that Microsoft competed unfairly and leveraged its position in the OS market in order to dominate the browser market seems plainly obvious.

Now for the tough questions: What do we do about it? And how the heck did we wind up with so many opportunistic leeches as state attorneys general?

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