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Questionable Tactics Around for Years

on 6/13/00.

Paul Beckner of Citizens for a Sound Economy wrote that the Justice Department's victory in the Microsoft antitrust case resulting from the judge's decision to break Microsoft into two separate companies, one for the Windows operating system and the other for software, is incorrect ("Microsoft case shows government clearly indifferent to consumers," Perspectives, June 9) .

Free-market ideologue Beckner says consumers are the last people on the government's mind, and he chides the Justice Department for misreading the antitrust laws.

On the contrary, the antitrust laws are in part aimed at eliminating monopolies. Clearly, Microsoft had achieved such a position with its Windows operating system, in which it later integrated its software search program, Explorer. However, few, if any, references have been made to predatory marketing practices committed by Microsoft during the past 18 years. It landed the operating system contract with IBM by an accidental stroke of pure good fortune.

I think Beckner ignores such marketing practices, failing to address the clear-cut historical issues involved in Microsoft behavior.

I think the Justice Department was obliged to investigate the monopolistic status of Microsoft and fully justified in its decision, which was similar to other decisions, such as the AT&T case and others.

The whole story has not yet come out regarding Microsoft. It is not a pretty story.

Donald F. Thielke


Government should redirect its efforts

Government prosecutes its best and brightest in the form of Microsoft, all in the name of protecting the consumer, and empowers unelected bureaucrats to mandate the use of reformulated gas in areas that have never scientifically demonstrated a need, again in the name of consumer protection. But, in that same vein, it is silent on the issue of a hate-spewing, foulmouthed 27-year-old masquerading as a musician by the name of Eminem.

The aggressively demented album -- yes, I've heard it -- that features the white rapper weaving rapid- fire tales about rape, drug overdoses and throat cuttings, sold 1.7 million copies in just seven days, according to SoundScan, becoming the second- biggest-selling debut week in industry history -- and certainly the most successful showing by a rapper ever. Gushed Newsweek, "He's arguably the most compelling figure in all of pop music."

That says a lot about what we think of our youth and their welfare. But, hey, we are safe at night knowing Microsoft is no longer a danger, reformulated gas will keep us healthy and Eminem will educate and entertain our youth. Life is good.

Greg T. Erdman

Big Bend