In the days following federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s sweeping findings of fact in the Microsoft antitrust case Nov. 5 (1 ECLW 81, 11/8/99), reactions in the computer industry, the press, and the legal community have struck every note from dismay to celebration. But there are a few common themes in the aftermath of the findings of fact — notably confusion and concern as to what the court-imposed remedies may be if, as now seems likely when the court reaches its legal conclusions some time in the first half of 2000, Microsoft is found to have abused its monopoly position in the operating-systems market in violation of American antitrust law.

Such a legal conclusion struck most observers and participants as a foregone conclusion. “These landmark findings-of-fact prove Microsoft is one of the most powerful and stifling monopolies of the century, and illegally abused its operating system software in a bid to control the market for Internet browsers,” said Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape Communications, shortly after the findings were released. “Its intimidating and abusive tactics have harmed consumers,” Barksdale said, adding that, “We’re anxious to see the remedies recommended by the court that will ensure that these predatory and monopolistic practices will not recur.”

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