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Microsoft & Monopolies

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Introduction

Microsoft & Monopolies Case Analysis Paper Microsoft & Monopolies Case Analysis Paper Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines a monopoly as this: "Exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action". The United States government and several states in our country define a monopoly as Bill Gates' Microsoft Corporation. Whether Microsoft monopolize its competition is not the focus of this analysis. This papers recommendation will be to focus on the outdated anti-trust laws, and the states inability to provide the necessary evidence against Microsoft and their business practices to make a their case in a court of law. On November 5, 1999, District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found that Microsoft Corporation used its monopoly position in the operating system market to unfairly mute competition in other technology markets, including the Internet Browser market. The U.S. Department of Justice and 20 states claimed that Microsoft was conducting business in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. The act is designed to protect consumers and to guard against businesses fixing prices, rigging bids or allocating customers. In his finding, Judge Jackson said, "to the detriment of consumers ... Microsoft has done much more than develop innovative browsing software of commendable quality and offer it bundled with Windows at no additional charge." As has been shown, "Microsoft also engaged in a concerted series of actions designed to protect the applications barrier to entry, and hence its monopoly power, from a variety of middle-ware threats including; Netscape's Web browser and Sun Microsystems' implementation of Java." ...read more.

Middle

Minnesota v. N. Sec. Co., 194 U.S. 48 (1904). As the Court explained; We cannot suppose it was intended that the enforcement of the Sherman Act, should depend in any degree upon original suits in equity instituted by the states or by individuals to prevent violations of its provisions. In 1914, Congress modified this remedial scheme by enacting the Clayton Act. While it included, Section 15, 15 U.S.C. 25, a provision virtually identical to the Section 4 of the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act also included a separate provision, Section 16, 15 U.S.C. 26, allowing private parties to seek injunctive relief when faced with prospective injury resulting from antitrust violations; Any person, firm, corporation, or association shall be entitled to sue for and have injunctive relief, in any court of the United States having jurisdiction over the parties, against threatened loss or damage by a violation of the antitrust laws, when and under the same conditions and principles as injunctive relief against threatened conduct that will cause loss or damage is granted by courts of equity, under the rules governing such proceedings. On the one hand, the State must articulate an interest apart from the interests of particular private parties. Therefore, a State may not appear as a nominal party to advance the interests of a single private interest or commercial enterprise, or of a single industry constituent. On the other hand, because it does not act as a sovereign law enforcer, a State, unlike the United States, may not be a mere volunteer seeking to vindicate an interest in compliance with the law. ...read more.

Conclusion

Our conclusion is that a district court has the power to order divestiture in appropriate cases brought under section 16 of the Clayton Act does not, of course, mean that such power should be exercised in every situation in which the Government would be entitled to such relief under section 15. In a Government case the proof of the violation of law may itself establish sufficient public injury to warrant relief. Courts of equity may, and frequently do, go much further with respect to giving and withholding relief. Much of what is done is in furtherance of public interest, which is more than they are accustomed to do when only private interests are involved; authorizing issuance of injunction at Government's request without balancing of the equities. A private litigant, however, must have standing, in the words of section 16, he must prove "threatened loss or damage" to his own interests in order to obtain relief. Moreover, equitable defenses such as leaches, or perhaps "unclean hands," may protect consummated transactions from belated attacks by private parties when it would not be too late for the Government to vindicate the public interest. We feel the government should revisit some of these laws. The Sherman Act was created over 110 years ago and cannot be effective under today's business standards and practices. Restructuring of all of the anti-trust laws could benefit business all around. For example, the government could develop a coalition of CEO's or experts in the field to monitor companies and ensure fair business practices. ...read more.

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