Proposed remedies bring dual monopoly fears

Proposed remedies bring dual monopoly fears

Microsoft could be the biggest benefactor of a company breakup, some legal experts predicted on Friday after the release of the government's proposed remedies in the historic antitrust case against the software maker.

"I don't think this is necessarily the best solution because this split will just create two huge behemoths that each will have the monopolist position in their respective fields," said Bob Schneider, head of the intellectual property department at the Chicago law firm Chapman and Cutler. He echoed the sentiment of others interviewed for their reactions to the government's recommendation that Microsoft be split into two companies, with one focused on operating systems and the other on applications, including the Internet Explorer browser.

In the view of Marc Schildkraut the remedy "is not terribly well connected to the violation that was proven" in court. Schildkraut is a partner in the Washington, D.C., firm of Howrey & Simon and he was in charge of the government's first antitrust investigation of Microsoft.

The government proposal, he said, is an indirect approach to stopping Microsoft's monopolistic and anti-competitive behaviour. He also thinks that it's likely that the breakup proposal would lead to two monopolies instead of one.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and 17 state attorneys general recommended that Microsoft be split in two. Attorneys general in Ohio and Illinois, who also are plaintiffs in the case, dissented when it came to asking for a breakup and have asked the court to impose conduct remedies.

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