Anti-Trust Legislation
As many people have noticed, recently there has been a huge focus in the media
on Bill Gates, and his huge Microsoft Corporation. This past Friday, May 22,

1998, a federal judge combined two lawsuits and set a trial date for September

8, 1998. This trial date will address a government request for a preliminary
injunction concerning Windows 98 as well as broader issues. The Sherman

Anti-trust Act was passed in 1890. Then in 1914 the Clayton Act was passed to
help with Anti-trust Cases. Anti-trust Lawsuits are few and far between, but
recently cases against Microsoft are stacking up all around the world. In 1890
the Sherman Anti-trust Act was passed, but it was not until much later that it
was enforced. The Act stated "every contract, combination in the form of
trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the
several States, or with foreign nations." The Sherman Anti-trust act was
too vague and too difficult to enforce. The Clayton Act of 1914 helped this
problem by making a more specific attack on monopolies. Things like predatory
price-cutting, price discrimination, and acquisition of stock in a competing
company with intent to destroy competition all became illegal. John D.

Rockefeller is a prime example of monopolies in US History. By buying out
competitors, or driving them out of business he obtained nearly 100 percent of
the market in oil refining. The Standard Oil Company was eventually forced to
dissolve into smaller companies after the case Standard Oil Company vs. United

States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911). Before this case the Anti-trust Laws had not been put
to much use, which was not to the benefit of consumers. Now the spotlight is on

Microsoft Corporation, and their apparent attempt to take over the Internet
browser market. Concerns aroused recently because of the expected release of

Windows 98, which uses Microsoft Internet Explorer in almost every application
it runs. The US government has seemingly acknowledged Microsoft\'s monopoly of
operating systems and let it go by because of lack of competition in the market.

But now new issues are at stake, should Microsoft be allowed to expand its
already almost monopoly into yet another field in the computer industry? With
the incorporation of Microsoft Internet Explorer into the Microsoft operating
system Windows 98, Netscape Communications Corporation felt vulnerable, and
filed complaints with the Justice Department. Once the investigations were
initiated, it seemed flocks of people jumped the bandwagon to attack the alleged

Microsoft Corporation Monopoly. 20 State Attorney Generals and the District of

Columbia, along with the Justice Department have filed against Microsoft

Corporation. Japan has also filed an Antitrust Lawsuit against Microsoft. It
seems that everywhere Microsoft is, there looms a bit of concern for the
consumers and their futures. Currently 90 percent of the world\'s personal
computers run on Microsoft operating systems. The remaining ten percent of the
industry is divided between Apple\'s Macintosh, IBM\'s OS/2, and Unix. The federal
and state antitrust regulators are arguing that Microsoft has illegally used the
popularity of its operating systems to eliminate its competition in the software
industry. Many economists feel that these lawsuits against Microsoft Corporation
could be as revolutionary as those against Bell Telephone in 1984 and John D.

Rockefeller\'s Standard Oil Company in 1911. Microsoft Corporation however,
disagrees, arguing that the changes being demanded by federal and state
government will take months to perform and would cause the software to be
useless. Microsoft clings strongly to their beliefs that Windows 98 cannot
succeed without Internet Explorer. "Such an operating system - which would
take many months (if not years) to develop and test - would bear little, if any,
resemblance to Windows 98 because Internet Explorer technologies are such a
critical element of that product," Microsoft wrote. Although it may be true
that Windows 98 is based around Internet Explorer, should the government allow

Microsoft to sell its product and gain more market share? One option that
federal and state governments gave Microsoft was to have the Windows 98 package
be sold with the Netscape Navigator Browser, Microsoft\'s main competitor. This
request was seen as ridiculous by Mark Murray, a spokesman at Microsoft
headquarters, who has been quoted as saying, "that\'s like the government
forcing Coke to put two cans of Pepsi in every six-pack." The only choices
being offered to Microsoft at this point are to "unbundle" Windows 98
and Internet Explorer, or to add in the Netscape Navigator Browser. The
unbundling process is what Microsoft Corporation says will take seven months to
handle, and therefore had asked for a delay for the court dates. The federal and