PublishedMarch 31, 1999

CCIA: Outcome of Microsoft Discussion Is No Surprise

Talks Justify Network Market Remedies


Washington, D.C., March 31, 1999 – Following yesterday’s Washington meeting of the major players in the government’s landmark antitrust case against Microsoft Corporation, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) President and CEO Ed Black issued the following statement:

“We are not surprised by the outcome of yesterday’s discussions and the fact that no middle ground has been reached by the two sides, because Microsoft has failed to exhibit the fundamental change in attitude that, we believe, is essential to forge any settlement agreement.  Microsoft’s corporate attitude, both with regard to its business conduct and practices and with regard to its disdain for the legitimacy of the law and antitrust enforcement, would have to change substantially for an agreement to be relied upon by the Justice Department and the state attorneys general.

“The cavalier and disdainful attitude consistently conveyed by Microsoft compels anyone interested in a meaningful settlement to conclude that an extraordinary amount of remedial protections would have to be included as part of the settlement.  We believe that those protections would likely be very unappealing and unacceptable to Microsoft.

“The governments involved understand that this case is of tremendous historical and precedence-setting significance and represents a unique opportunity to preserve the dynamic and competitive nature of our technology industry.  I believe they also understand it’s a unique opportunity to win a strong case, because of the arrogance and mistakes that have exposed Microsoft’s intentions and brutal behavior for all to see.  If this opportunity is not used, the likelihood of there being a future action — and the success of any such future action — would have to be viewed as very slim.  Therefore, we are not surprised that a weak, ineffectual remedy such as that proposed by Microsoft would be unacceptable.

“The most critical measurement of a possible settlement, or ultimately of a verdict, will be whether it effectively prevents the improper maintenance and extension of Microsoft’s monopoly power to successor and related sectors.  Probably the most important sector is enterprise network computing.  Any remedy achieved must curtail the ongoing and expanding practices by Microsoft, which are forcing many developers and customers to migrate from Windows 95/98 and NT to the Windows 2000/NT server market.”

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