Microsoft Judge's Comments Are an Issue

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By Sera1
March 1, 2001

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I said: This case is so over. (smirk.)

Oleg: Sera, care to elaborate? :) I'd love to see an educated post here - once in a while :) more of an analysis than fact rehash...

Oleg, I'd love to. First of all, congratulations to all you hard-working MSFT folks who put up with so much abuse. Take a moment to savor this belated plateau. Let me tell you, this has been 8 agonizing years of absolute lawlessness, and I don't mean on the part of MSFT. This case was groundless, not in the fact that MSFT did not engage in some anti-competitive acts (it did) but in terms of the ferocity with which the DoJ went after MSFT and the havoc it has wrecked with our economy. Anti-trust laws were not designed to be used as an extortionist tool for the lawyers lobby.

Sounds too simplistic? It's not. MSFT was involved in an infant industry in a highly competitive environment, and there was no chance of it maintaining or holding onto its monopoly illegally. In fact, it was a natural creation of market forces; the consumer created MSFT -- that is why you can't find OEMs today that don't have Windows installed, because it was never profitable for any OEM (little or big) to sell the box when what people wanted was the OS. (By the way, you can find these OEMs (better to say, Original Equipment Providers) and you can talk to the ones who were in business years ago and begged their customers to take other OSs but just wouldn't. They had all the incentive in the world -- profit margins were spectacular  -- but there were no takers on demand side. So, end of story.)

I could go into the whole arcane aspect of anti-trust law, the so-called illegal tying (good job, Jackson... go to the 9th circuit on an issue they had already decided), the case against MSFT by the states and why they will fail, but I won't. I'll spare you. The DoJ's biggest problem, as I've always maintained, was Penfield Jackson and his choice of Laurence Lessig as special master. It showed bias, bad judgment and pre-disposition beyond anything I've ever seen.

Just to put it in its simplest terms, did you see Lance Ito talk about the OJ trial after the verdict? Judge Sobel, after the Nanny trial? Whoever the judge was after the Manson trial? Hell, no. You'll never see it. Why? Because judges are supposed to be judicious. The word "judge" implies balance, good judgment and most of all impartiality. I just saw a judge (who was in line for the appeals court) get reamed for laying into a defendant during sentencing. This criminal had run over a cop in yet another one of this defendant's drunken binges. The judge informed the so-called defendant that he was a disgrace, and a waste of a human being (which he was). The judge was censored for what he had said at the sentencing. So you can just imagine how stupid it was for Jackson to open up his big mouth pending appeal.

The Clinton DoJ crashed the economy, severely miscalculated and wasted millions in taxpayers' money harassing a company that has done nothing but good. If this is a monopoly, give us more. It didn't raise prices, it didn't block innovation, and it didn't put its competitors out of business. Jackson turned anti-trust law on its head. Sure, the appeals court will throw him a bone, but it's over. He wont be involved in a new trial, if there even is one, and it's my guess there won't be. Maybe on a few of these issues, but the appeals court owes the lower court nothing, and I don't think anyone cared to admit just how amorphous anti-trust enforcement can be. As I said earlier, depending on how many chits the new DoJ has to call in (Starr- ugh!, Orrin Hatch, Bork... we'll see) will be the decisive factor. Not how many so-called laws MSFT did or didn't break.

More later, I have work to do. This may not be educated, but for now it is my opinion. By the way, ^ 5 to Bill and to the rest of you. ;)