Six years after the landmark antitrust settlement between the United States and Microsoft, the Department of Justice said Aug. 30 that the deal has benefited consumers by promoting competition in the middleware market. In a filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department of Justice stated that the agreement has accomplished the goal of removing "anticompetitive exclusionary obstacles" erected by Microsoft prior to the settlement. The Department of Justice originally charged Microsoft with unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in its personal computer operating systems by prohibiting consumers and computer manufacturers from removing Microsoft's middleware and cutting deals with software developers and other third parties to exclude competing middleware.
"The final judgments have been successful in protecting the development and distribution of middleware products and in preventing Microsoft from continuing the type of exclusionary behavior that led to the original lawsuit," Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, in Washington, said in a statement. In the court filing, the Department of Justice cited Web browsers like Mozilla's Firefox, Opera Software's Opera and Apple's Safari as examples of increasing competition for Microsoft's Internet Explorer.