12 October 2005

Counting the Tickets on Microsoft's Windshield

Here's the tally of Microsoft's antitrust fines so far [Dan Gillmor]:

$1.95 billion to Sun Microsystems
$850 million to IBM
$750 million to AOL Time Warner
$536 million to Novell
$460 million to RealNetworks
$440 million to InterTrust Technologies
$150 million to Gateway
$23 million to Be

Total to date is over $5 billion.

Unfortunately, the fines are not enough of a deterrent to Microsoft. The company has enough size and market share that it still gains more than it loses by pushing the antitrust envelope.

It seems the only real solution is to add resources to the Justice Dept. and FBI (which also investigates corruption). Right now both agencies are struggling with a plate full of antiterrorism initiatives, and those resources should not be diverted. So adding more resources appears to be the best option.

But there must also be the political will to go after antitrust cases. The Bush administration is about as antitrust friendly as can be, and that has to change if the legal system is going to preserve fair markets and level playing fields.

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