WASHINGTONThe Justice Department and state officials asked a federal judge Friday (April 28) to split monopolist Microsoft Corp. into two competing companies as a final remedy in the two-year-old antitrust case.
The remedy proposal submitted to U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson shortly after the close of financial markets calls for dividing Microsoft into separate companies that would produce the Windows operating system while the other focuses on software applications. Under the plan, the two companies would be prevented from merging again for 10 years.
Jackson ruled earlier that Microsoft had violated U.S. antitrust law by using its monopoly position in the operating system market to gain control of the Internet browser market.
Microsoft said it will appeal Jackson's April 3 ruling. On Tuesday (April 25), Microsoft president and chief executive Steve Ballmer told employees in a memo that "this company, which has done so many great things for consumers and for the American economy over the last 25 years, will not be broken up."
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno called the proposal to break up Microsoft "the right remedy at the right time." Reno added that proposal would "stimulate competition, promote innovation and give consumers new and better choices in the marketplace."Antitrust experts have said that while the proposal to break up Microsoft may be extreme, it could be upheld on appeal.