PublishedOctober 20, 1997

CCIA: Justice Contempt Action Against Microsoft is Justified and Necessary

(Washington, DC) — The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) applauds the U. S. Justice Department for identifying anti-competitive practices within the computer and communications industry and taking steps to end some of them. In this case, Justice has targeted Microsoft for requiring personal computer manufacturers to license and distribute its Internet browser, Internet Explorer — along with Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 95.

“We agree with Justice that by forcing its browser to be combined with its dominant operating system, Microsoft could unfairly undermine the ability of companies with competing products to gain position in the browser market,” said Ed Black, CCIA President. “While consumers may still use competing browsers on Windows, this practice seems designed to leverage the dominance of Microsoft’s operating system — which is installed on more than 80 percent of our PCs — and choke off competition in the browser market.”

CCIA has a long history of advocating vigorous antitrust enforcement in the computer and communications industry because we believe that the key to the growth and success of our industry has been a firm foundation in competition and innovation. In view of Microsoft’s dominance and their apparent strategy to use that power to enter other arenas, it is appropriate to keep Microsoft under a microscope. Their mere presence can deter new entrants in a competitive field and can undermine capital investments in rival products.

“Our position should not be viewed as attempt to favor Netscape — or an attempt to diminish Microsoft’s interests in the browser market,” Black continued. “Rather, we believe this to be an appropriate position for our government to take to prevent Microsoft from improperly expanding its monopoly power even further, from computers to the Internet.”

CCIA is an association of computer and communications industry firms, as represented by their most senior executives. Small, medium and large in size, these companies represent a broad, cross-section of the industry, employing over a half million workers and generating annual revenues beyond 200 billion dollars. The association promotes open, barrier-free competition in the offering of computer and communications products and services worldwide.

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