Consumer News Release
For immediate release -- Monday, April 3, 2000.
Statement by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller on Microsoft Conclusions of Law Issued Today
Following is a statement from Tom Miller, Attorney General of Iowa, and co-chair of the 19-state Microsoft Working Group:
We welcome the Court's conclusions of law. They mark a crucial milestone.
The judge has entered broad, conclusive, and compelling conclusions that Microsoft is guilty of multiple violations of state and federal antitrust laws. According to the Court, Microsoft engaged in a broad pattern of illegal conduct, targeting threats to its monopoly power wherever they appeared.
The judge concluded, as we argued, that Microsoft has harmed consumers by reducing consumer choice, thwarting competition, and blocking innovation and the possible onset of competition in the market for PC operating systems. Now we will be joining our Justice Department partners to seek a remedy that is effective in fostering choice, innovation, fair competition, and the best possible prices for consumers.
The Court found that Microsoft violated two separate provisions of the federal antitrust laws, as well as the antitrust laws of each of the states. Both federal and state laws prohibit illegal maintenance of monopoly power and unreasonable restraints of trade. Specifically, the Court concluded that Microsoft has monopoly power in the market for PC operating systems and has maintained that power illegally by engaging in a campaign of exclusionary and predatory conduct without any legitimate justification.
Microsoft also is guilty of attempted monopolization of the market for Internet browsers, by pressuring Netscape to agree to divide the browser market in a way that removed any threat to Microsoft's monopoly. Under controlling Supreme Court precedents, Microsoft also violated federal and state antitrust laws by tying its Internet browser, Internet Explorer, to its monopoly operating system product, in order to force computer manufacturers to load its product instead of Netscape's onto the computers they sell.
While exclusive deals which Microsoft forced on computer manufacturers, Internet access providers and others did not wholly prevent Netscape from distributing its browser, they severely restricted Netscape's ability to use the most efficient distribution channels, and therefore violated the law against illegal monopolization.
Microsoft's conduct violated the antitrust laws of every one of the States which are plaintiffs in the action, rendering Microsoft liable to sanctions imposed under state as well as federal antitrust laws.
The Court rejected Microsoft's claim that Microsoft was not liable under some States' laws because those laws only applied to activity that had an impact within the State, pointing out that Microsoft's conduct had significantly hampered competition in each of the States.
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