Hard to believe that its been nearly 13 years since the United States Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. The lawsuit originated from the Federal Trade Commission and will now expire on May 12 with no further court hearings.
The lawsuit, filed in 1998, alleged that Microsoft illegally used its dominance and control of the Windows operating system market to shut out rivals to its Internet Explorer browser. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the government won the ruling two years later. Once in appeals court, the ruling was overturned and a settlement was reached between the Justice Department and Microsoft. The settlement required strict oversight procedures and explicit requirements to prevent Microsoft from engaging in “Predatory Behavior” towards its rivals. Fortunately for Microsoft, that oversight ends May 12th.
The judge that preceded over the last oversight hearing, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, was quoted saying, “And so May 12 will close an important chapter in the history of antitrust law.”
This antitrust lawsuit brought new criticism as many believed that Microsoft caused an increased government regulation of an industry that was free of government intrusion. Microsoft used this event to its own advantage. Not that long ago, Microsoft joined in a number of companies in the EU alleging that Google’s search engine had been unfairly promoting Google’s own products over its competitors.
Microsoft was recently labeled as one of the world’s 110 most ethical companies.Further reading: Antitrust, Microsoft