|Friday, June 29 3:16 AM SGT
Reaction to Microsoft appeal ruling: both sides claim
victorySAN FRANCISCO, June 28 (AFP) -
Both sides claimed victory Thursday after a complex US Court of
Appeals decision that reversed a judge's decision last year ordering
the breakup of Microsoft.
While most legal scholars and corporate foes of the company were
busy deciphering the 150-plus page decision, groups claiming to
represent consumers and Microsoft's corporate rivals both claimed a
victory for the company.
"A major win for consumers," declared the Washington-based
Citizens for a Sound Economy, which has close ties and received
funding from Microsoft during the three-year-old antitrust court
The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) praised
the decision on the grounds that it showed that Microsoft had,
indeed, been a corporate bully.
"We applaud the Court of Appeals decision today in finding that
Microsoft possesses monopoly power," said the organization.
Ken Wasch, SIIA president, told AFP that the group receives
funding from Sun Microsystems, Oracle and other high-tech firms, all
virulent opponents of Microsoft.
The appeals court handed both sides fodder for their glee.
The appellate judges did agree with US District Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson that Microsoft had engaged in a wide-ranging
pattern of illegal monopoly practices.
Among the courts findings: the company had illegally pressured
programmers to develop software only for the company's market
dominating operating system; that it had illegally pressured Intel
to use Microsoft's version of the Java programming language, and
that the company had illegally pressured computer manufacturers to
favor Microsoft software.
The appeals court judges, however, overturned Jackson's ruling
that the company had violated the law by aggressively pricing and
distributing its Internet browsing software -- a huge victory for a
company that had been moving aggressively into the Internet
The appeals court also halted a break-up of the company that had
been ordered by Jackson, in large part because of the trial judge's
scathing public criticisims of Microsoft and its co-founder Bill
Gates. For instance, compared his breakup order to training a mule
by having it "whopped" over the head with a substantial piece of
Wall Street cheered the decision, especially the reversal of
Jackson's break-up order. Microsoft Corp shares were upgraded to
"buy" at JP Morgan following the decision.
JP Morgan analyst Chris Galvin said the decision "holds
psychological significance" for Microsoft as it attempts to rebuild
its image and concentrate on the raft of new products it has or is
about to launch."
Nicholas Economides, professor of economics at New York
University's Leonard Stern Business School, termed the appellate
decision a "big victory for Microsoft" saying it would probably
force a settlement on the case.