Gov’t Proposes Takeover of Microsoft

Lawyers for the Department of Justice and 17 states attorneys general announced today their proposed remedies in the Microsoft antitrust case. Erick Gustafson, Director of Technology and Communications Policy for Citizens for a Sound Economy, made this statement about the remedies:

“At each step in the development of software the government places regulation ahead of innovation and empowers lawyers over entrepreneurs to determine the future of technology. The government has proposed remedies that are overly invasive and needlessly bureaucratic and which reach far beyond the scope of the trial. If accepted, the proposal is certain to have a detrimental effect on the nation’s economic health. Dealing Microsoft more than just a breakup blow, Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein has advocated regulating Microsoft’s behavior far into the future.

“These remedies will result in years of expensive and time consuming litigation that will stall innovation in the technology sector and harm consumers in the process. Under the plan, the government will not only erect an artificial barrier between the operating system and applications, but the government would also set prices for software and strip consumers of their fundamental right to contract freely with Microsoft.

“This is a government takeover of America’s most dynamic and innovative industry. Worse, it further emboldens trial-lawyers who are hoping to cash in on the technology sector. The threat of these frivolous lawsuits will drive entrepreneurs and investment from the technology sector, limiting innovation.

“Ten years ago the Internet was used by a handful of people. Today, nearly 50 million American households are online because of companies like Microsoft. If this radical proposal is put into effect, ten years from now government lawyers will control the software marketplace.”