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Microsoft's 1994 consent decree: Boon or bust?

Nearly ten years ago (1994) Microsoft vowed to change its business practices to allow competitors to enter the market. So after ten years has anything really changed with Microsoft? To answer that question News.com has put together some great interviews with the key players from the Microsoft antitrust trial. Such as Bill Neukom & Brad Smith (Microsoft Lawyers), and Wired Magazine columnist Wendy Goldman Rohm.

In the summer of 1994, with the threat of an antitrust charge looming, Microsoft agreed to settle charges that it was engaged in predatory business practices in its dealings with computer makers.

Though much less well-known than the broader Sherman Act case later brought by the Department of Justice, this initial action established a legacy of treating Microsoft as a company whose monopoly power needed to be kept in check.

The 1994 accord, signed 10 years ago this month, focused on the way Microsoft worded contracts with computer makers. Specifically, Microsoft agreed to do away with a number of practices, including a system in which manufacturers got a discount on copies of Microsoft's operating systems by paying for a license for every computer they shipped--whether or not it included a Microsoft OS. The agreement also limited Microsoft from engaging PC makers in contracts that lasted more than a year, and it demanded that the company not make contracts or pricing contingent upon acquiring any other product.

News source: C|Net News.com

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