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Off Topic: FW: Microsoft breakup ordered by judge
Washington, Jan 20 -- In a move that stunned the high-tech industry,
Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department announced today that Microsoft's
monopoly over the desktop has come to an end.
The move came one day after U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnson, who has been
hearing arguments in the ongoing dispute between Microsoft and Justice over
the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows 95, ordered Microsoft to pay a
fine of $1 million for every PC sold with both Windows 95 and Internet
The agreement, which must be approved by Johnson, calls for a breakup of
Microsoft modeled after the extremely popular 1983 breakup of AT&T, which
split AT&T into seven regional operating companies and one national long
distance carrier. That breakup vaulted Judge Harold Browne to a household
name and put him in the hot seat for more than a decade, arbitrating
disputes between the Bell sextuplets and the FCC. The Microsoft breakup
should do the same thing for Johnson.
Under the terms of the agreement, scheduled to be effective 4/1/98,
Microsoft will split Windows 95 into seven regional operating systems.
Seven new Babysofts will own the rights to develop and market their own
versions of Windows in a specific geographical region. Microsoft itself
will retain rights to its application programs.
The seven regional operating systems, which correspond to the original
Baby Bell regions, will use seven different brand names: "Windows 9X" in
New England, <"Windows@LANTIC"> in the Atlantic states, "Wintech" in the
north central US, "WindowsSouth" in the south, "Southwestern Windows" in
the midwest and southwest, "Pacific WIN.SYS" in the west, and "West Wind"
in the northwest.
The Babysofts are free to compete in international markets and can compete
domestically once they have demonstrated that they have opened their
operating systems up to competition.
Industry analysts hailed the announcement as a brilliant move by Microsoft.
Insiders boasted about the position Microsoft would be in after the breakup:
"In one move, Microsoft eliminates the problem of being blamed for every
software problem on every desktop computer in the world -- even those
running competing operating systems," said one unnamed president of Microsoft,
who asked to remain anonymous.
A Department of Justice representative disclosed that the new plan was finally
ironed out in the early morning hours after the original plan to split up
Windows 95 along functional lines was rejected. That proposal, which would
have created separate products named Windows 95, Menus 95, Buttons 95 and
Startup 95, among others, was rejected when the managers of the Menus and
Buttons products complained that without Windows, they would have no place to
display their products.