US drops plans to split up Microsoft

Reversing the strategy under President Clinton, the Bush administration is dropping attempts to split the software giant into separate applications and operating systems companies. It is doing so in order to try and bring the long-running case to a quicker conclusion, it said.

The DoJ explained that it was ‘taking these steps in an effort to obtain prompt, effective and certain relief for consumers’.

In a statement it said: ‘In view of the Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision that Microsoft illegally maintained its monopoly over PC-based operating systems – the core allegation in the case – the Department believes that it has established a basis for relief that would end Microsoft’s unlawful conduct, prevent its recurrence and open the operating system market to competition.

‘Pursuing a liability determination on the tying claim would only prolong proceedings and delay the imposition of relief that would benefit consumers.’

A judge had ordered the two sides to produce a joint status report by 14 September.

Microsoft has said only that ‘it remains committed to resolving the remaining issues in the case’.


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