Microsoft Corp. is still trying to 'leverage' its Windows operating system monopoly to control all software markets, said the former judge who ordered the company's breakup in the U.S. government's landmark antitrust case.
'Nothing has changed, to my observation, in the five years that have elapsed since my decision,' said Thomas Penfield Jackson, who retired last year as a federal judge. 'Windows is an operating-system monopoly, and the company's business strategy was to leverage Windows to achieve a comparable dominion over all software markets,' Jackson said yesterday in Washington at a conference sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute.
Jackson's 2000 decision ordered the breakup of Microsoft, but in 2001, a U.S. appeals court overturned that element, leaving the company intact. The Bush administration, which inherited the case from the Clinton administration, settled with Microsoft once the company agreed to let computer makers promote rival software products.
Jackson defended his decision to grant the Clinton administration's request to break up the company. 'The Microsoft persona I had been shown throughout the trial was one of militant defiance, unapologetic for its past behavior and determined to continue as before,' he said.
Writer Ken Auletta, who wrote a book about the Microsoft case, based in part on interviews with Jackson, quoted the judge as comparing Microsoft executives to members of a drug gang because of their unrepentant attitude in court.