Re: What is Possum Stew?

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From: Sophie Maddox (
Date: Thu Oct 26 2000 - 18:43:52 PDT

--- In, ThosStew@a... wrote:
> In a message dated 10/24/2000 12:11:59 PM, lisa@x... writes:

> Iif the government wins on appeal, then Microsoft will be broken
> would be an impact of some magnitude.

We might be waiting along for that to happen. All that has happen is
the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case, which is not usual,
doesn't hear direct appeals in civil cases from trial courts,
(criminal cases are different) The AT&T breakup produced the only two
other appeals the Supreme Court has taken directly from the trial
court since the justices were given such discretion in 1974. In those
cases, the Supreme Court summarily rejected challenges to the AT&T
breakup agreement. It was a pretty sure bet it would be throw the
back to the appellate court. (The justices also declined to hear a
case against Microsoft filed by 19 states that joined the Justice
Department in suing the company in 1998.) So there will be briefings
and arguments and then a decision will made. The gov't says it sets
things back at least a year, but it could be longer. It doesn't stop
there, either party can appeal back to the Supreme Court.

It was great legal maneuver to buy time on Microsoft's part. It
to take its appeal first to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia because that court has reversed Jackson's
decisions on Microsoft-related matters twice in the past. And of
course the Justice Department wanted to avoid the Court of Appeals
the same reason. They also get the added bonus of Judge Jackson's
ruling that the break up be delayed while the appeal process is going
on. MS can conduct business as usual.

There are over 120 civil lawsuits in 20 states (all class actions)
there were 130 in 30 states, some weren't class action and some were
consolidated and some settled, so it's down to 120 in 20 states
against MS for money damages, alleging the same antitrust violations
that Judge Jackson found. Winners can get treble damages, so MS wil
have to cough up a lot of dough to get out of those suits. Such
often result in agreements to lower prices for new versions of MS
software, in addition to some cash. But if they do not settle, some
of those cases could bankrupt MS (if 37% profit is sure monopoly, and
10% is reasonable, up to 25% of their assets was illegally earned,
treble damages means that 75% is at risk. That is excluding legal

If it's true that to see the actual change will take many years, like
10-15 years now with appeals and other cases against MS, some of
hinge on the higher courts rulings, there is a possibility that even
if MS loses, with some clever legal maneuvering could get a "stay of
excution" while the others cases are pending-'we' might become
obsolete before Microsoft does. $-). There will certainly be an
impact, the question is will it be a 100 megaton one or one that just
bounces in slowly.


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