Gates pleased with court ruling

Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates, hailing a US appeals court ruling to overturn a lower court order to break the company in two, said in a press conference Thursday that Microsoft will continue with its aggressive new initiatives in the computer and Internet markets and will work to conclude its current legal battle "without the need for continued litigation."

"We're still reviewing the details of the ruling but it's clear that it reverses and significantly narrows the District Court decision," Gates said. "It lifts the cloud of break-up over the company... We do not believe a break-up will take place."

Gates focused on the company's plans for continued innovation and the release of several new products this year. "There's nothing in today's rulings that changed our plans for future products including Windows XP," he said.

During the past three years of legal proceedings, the company built its Windows 2000 operating system, launched its .Net strategy, and released Office XP, the newest version of its desktop software suite. It is planning to launch its newest operating system, Windows XP, on 25 October followed by its video game console XBox and the Tablet PC.

"That's completely on track," Gates said. "Microsoft as an entity is moving ahead."

The US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling Thursday overturning Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's order that Microsoft be split into two, but said that Microsoft illegally maintained its Windows monopoly.

"Of the three antitrust violations originally identified by the District Court, one is no longer viable: attempted monopolization of the browser market," the Appeals Court wrote in its 125-page ruling. "One will be remanded for liability proceedings under a different legal standard: unlawful tying," the document continued.

"Only liability for the monopoly-maintenance violation has been affirmed - and even that we have revised."

Those liability issues directly link to the Appeals Court's decision to toss out the remedies. The appeals court further cited judicial misconduct as a reason to seek a reconsideration of remedies.

The panel of seven appellate judges generally agreed with the lower court ruling that Microsoft used its monopoly power to engage in anticompetitive behaviour. However, the court sharply criticised Jackson for not holding an evidentiary hearing in the case and for his actions in the media. The court wrote in its ruling "that the actions of the trial judge seriously tainted the proceedings" by discussing the case with the press outside of the courtroom, "and called into question the integrity of the judicial process."

Microsoft officials did not comment on the court's rulings on Jackson.

The Appeals Court did agree that Microsoft wielded its monopoly power illegally, and ordered that the case be sent back to the lower court to determine once again what remedies should be applied to curb Microsoft's behaviour. It isn't illegal to be a monopoly; but it's illegal to use monopoly power in an anticompetitive way. The Appeals Court also ordered that the case be heard by a different judge to decide what penalty Microsoft will face.

David Smith, an analyst for Gartner, said the appeals court ruling was a "solid double, not a home run for either side." But it did bring with it an important confirmation: That Microsoft is a monopoly. "That's something they really don't want to have on their record," he said.

Microsoft and the Department of Justice can appeal all or parts of the appeals court verdict with the Supreme Court. A separate case regarding unlawful tying could also be pursued, though Microsoft argued it would be difficult for the prosecution to make a case for that. The company said it would also consider settling out of court.

"We will be reviewing the ruling and determining what actions we need to take," Gates said.

The company's chairman did acknowledge that Microsoft has become a large and influential player in the technology industry. "We take that responsibility very seriously," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Berger

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?