United States vs Microsoft

The United States v Microsoft refers to a case instituted against Microsoft Corporation in 1998 by the Department of Justice. This is a case that brought into the limelight competition laws that exist to curb the inappropriate abuse of monopoly power. The point in dispute in this case was the alleged abuse of monopoly powers by Microsoft seen in how it had attached its web browser to its windows operating system.

The plaintiff in this case was alleging that Microsoft was having undue advantage over other providers as the windows came with a replica of internet explorer, this made it hard for other operators such as Opera to be marketed effectively. The allegations went further to posit that application programming interfaces had been programmed to make them more compatible to internet explorer but slow and disadvantageous to other browsers. Such a practice, the Department of Justice claimed was unfair as it led to the cost of windows being unbearably higher than it would have been had the two been delinked (Alan Meese,19).

Marc-Peter Radke, in his journal. Law and Economics of Microsoft vs. U. S. Department of Justice – New Paradigm for Antitrust in Network Markets or Inefficient Lock-In of Antitrust Policy? , he provides his own analysis of the landmark The united states v Microsoft case. He provides an outline of how it went and its out come focusing on the Anti trust laws. After a tussle in court, the Department of Justice and Microsoft reached a settlement striking a compromise that Microsoft has to reveal its programming interfaces to its competitors.

There was a similar case against Microsoft under consideration in Europe and Microsoft was fined over 400 million euros for restricting customers to have a fair choice in media players as Microsoft sells its operating system together with its media player as a package. This is against the competition laws both in the European Union and Antitrust laws in the United States. The competition law is a branch of business law that seeks to regulate and curb unfair practices by dominant players in the market. Dominant players in this case are the likes Microsoft which enjoys over 90%of the entire world market.

Anti Trust laws also go ahead to put restrictions on any prohibitive agreements that might lead to lessening competition in the market place. This law also goes ahead to control and supervise large firms wishing to merge or acquire another firm especially if such an acquisition or merger is likely to impede on the spirit of competition in the market. The key objectives of the competition law is to safe guard the welfare of the consumers while ensuring that the environment in market is conducive for competition without the dominant players having undue advantage over the small players.

Competition in the United States is legislated by the Sherman act of 1890 together with the Clayton act of 1914. The Sherman Act was inspired by the common law while the Clayton act of 1914 was meant to reinforce the legislations in the former act. Examples of practices restricted include exclusive dealings, acquisitions and mergers that will lead to a significant reduction of competition as well as the practice of price discrimination. 

Ken Arnold (2002) writes in the Wichita Business Journal titled local CPAs: Enron Scandal will cause Internal Changes that in his opinion stricter regulations on accountants will not curb the occurrences that witnessed the bankruptcy of the Enron Company. The journal notes that the government and the public are both likely to be more vigilant in their view of Certified Public Accountants firms. Companies also will be demanding a lot more from the accounting firms especially requiring them to disclose their incomes lest they be a replica of the Arthur Andersen firm.