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Split MS into four companies, says leaked report

Is the whole of the software industry out to get Microsoft, or just 60 of them?

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MS on Trial A 40 page secret report by the software industry's trade organisation calls for the break-up of Microsoft, should it lose its antitrust case. The Software and Information Industry Association, formerly known as the Software Publishers Association, recommends in the report that Microsoft be broken up into three or four 'Baby Bills' with identical product lines. The status of the report, which was leaked yesterday, is unclear. It seems to have been approved by the Association's board, and is in the hands of the Department of Justice as well as the press. But over the past few years there has been considerable infighting within the Association over the Microsoft issue. Executive director Ken Wasch and much of the board are heavily critical of Microsoft, but Microsoft is the group's largest member, and has fought back hard. The DoJ looked in a strong position after Microsoft's last defence witness finished up last week, and will therefore certainly be starting to firm up the remedies it will ask the court for after its probable victory. But it would be seen as premature, and possibly damaging, to talk about these openly before the judge has actually delivered his verdict. But in order to decide what to ask for the DoJ will most certainly consult interested bodies. The SIIA is one of the most important of these, so the leaked document can probably be seen as being at least a preliminary stab at forming a policy. Microsoft COO Bob Herbold described the leak as unfortunate, said the document was preliminary, and that only 60 out of 1,300 Association members had been involved in its development. By preliminary he probably means Microsoft hasn't finished trying to get the membership to reject it yet. And presumably at least some of those 60 are rather on the large side. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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