Article 65 of 200
Microsoft case unlikely to be settled soon
The Star-Ledger Newark, NJ
(c) 2000. The Star-Ledger. All rights reserved.
Some antitrust experts predict the Justice Department won't settle its
landmark case against Microsoft Corp. until President Clinton leaves
The predictions were made by Microsoft legal consultant C. Boyden
Gray, who served as an aide to Presidents Reagan and Bush, and Nicholas
Economides , dean of New York University's Stern School of Business, at
an NYU legal conference on the case held late last week.
''I think the likelihood is that it will be settled" - but after the
November election, Gray said. The Justice Department would be "more the
same with Gore, but there would be a change. Any administration is going
to put new people in."
Economides predicted an appeals court would overturn the trial court's
finding that Microsoft illegally tied its Internet Explorer Web browser
to its Windows operating system.
The weakened case would be settled under Al Gore or George W. Bush, he
said - but not Clinton. "I think the current administration would have a
hard time settling," he said.
Microsoft's legal fees would reach $6 billion by that time, Economides
said, and the lengthy legal battle would leave the company unable to
make acquisitions it might otherwise pursue over the next two years.
If Bush is elected, his antitrust enforcers would likely bring a less
impassioned approach, Economides said.
''But I wouldn't be surprised if Gore cut a deal as well," he said.
"His incentive would be: 'It's an old case, we inherited it - let's come
up with a solution everyone can be happy with.'"
GOP front-runner Bush has criticized the Justice Department's handling
of the case, saying he hopes government lawyers don't ruin the nation's
largest software maker. But a spokesman for Bush declined to say whether
Bush would side with Microsoft if he were elected.
The government late last month outlined its proposal to halve the
company -into one selling the Windows operating system and another
selling software applications. Microsoft is scheduled to present its own