November 6, 1999
A time line of events in the Microsoft case:Allegation1991: Federal Trade Commission investigates claims that Microsoft monopolizes personal computer operating system market1993: FTC drops case; Justice Department begins investigationSettlement1994: Microsoft and Justice Dept. reach settlement; Microsoft changes PC maker contracts, lifts restrictions on other software firmsFeb. 1995: Federal judge rejects settlement as an inadequate remedy to Microsoft "monopoly"'Bundling' investigation1996: Federal investigation of Microsoft's "bundling" its Internet browser with Windows 95Oct.
June 22, 1995
The Justice Department has broadened its investigation of Microsoft Corp.'s plans for its new on-line network, issuing subpoenas this week to publishers, broadcasters and others who have signed up to be on it.The requests for documents from the information suppliers of the on-line service, Microsoft Network, signal a second step in the investigation.Two weeks ago, the Justice Department issued civil investigative demands -- the equivalent of subpoenas -- to Microsoft's rivals in the on-line business, including America Online Inc., H&R Block's Compuserve and Prodigy Services, the joint venture by IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Co.In the new round of requests, the information suppliers for Microsoft Network are being asked for any documents received after July 1993, written by either suppliers or by Microsoft, that relate to estimates of how many people will sign up for Microsoft Network.
May 30, 1995
Increased competition -- usually a good deal for consumers -- is in prospect for banking by personal computer, a field on the verge of explosive growth. With the collapse of Microsoft's $2.1 billion plan to acquire Intuit and its popular home-banking software system (Quicken), there could be a fierce scramble in a lucrative market.For the Justice Department's anti-trust division, Microsoft's uncharacteristic withdrawal from the field of battle is a doubly sweet victory. It helps division morale after being chastised by a federal judge for being too soft on Microsoft in an earlier unfair business practices case.
November 9, 1998
Q. Why is the Microsoft case being tried before a judge, not a jury?A. If the plaintiffs (the Department of Justice and 20 states) were seeking damages (money) from Microsoft, then either side would be entitled to request a jury trial.However, the plaintiffs are not seeking money -- they only seek injunctive relief, such as stopping Microsoft from packaging its Internet browser in Windows 98. The Microsoft trial thus falls under a category of law called "actions in equity."According to a tradition dating back to English law, "actions in equity" are tried before a judge, not a jury.
November 8, 1999
In the fall of 1995, I bought a Hewlett-Packard Pavilion computer loaded with Microsoft Windows 95. But when I turned it on, Windows 95 wasn't what I saw. Instead, I was greeted by a cute, colorful animated screen that made it easy to launch programs and otherwise navigate through everyday use of the computer.Many other PC manufacturers were doing the same thing -- they had concluded that Windows 95 was still too confusing for many of their customers, particularly first-time buyers.Their motives weren't entirely altruistic.
February 15, 1995
WASHINGTON -- In a decision that throws the federal government's biggest antitrust case into turmoil, a federal judge rejected yesterday the Justice Department's agreement to settle allegations that Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software company, unfairly competed with its rivals.The decision is a considerable embarrassment for the Justice Department, which described its settlement last July as a victory that would rein in one of the most feared companies in the computer industry.The Justice Department must now rebut criticism that the accord was too tame.