[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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.