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South Carolina not to get Microsoft plant

Dropping legal action against MS made no difference in the end...

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South Carolina has lost out in its bid to persuade Microsoft to open a new facility in the state, rather than in North Carolina where Microsoft already has a base. It was announced yesterday that Microsoft will expand its 1000-person facility in Charlotte that it uses as its eastern regional product support services operation. Last December, South Carolina dropped its parallel action against Microsoft, as part of the coalition of 20 states (and DC). The state attorney general Charlie Condon claimed that, following the AOL takeover of Netscape, "innovation was thriving" so no action by the state was warranted. Condon also dusted off some Milton Friedman economic views that suggested government intervention was not a good thing. It was strange that he had not remembered these views earlier. It was suspected at the time that Microsoft had lobbied hard to persuade several states to give up the case, but was able to bring leverage against South Carolina by suggesting that the state would have no chance of winning the Microsoft facility unless it withdrew. Microsoft now says that it was "a difficult decision", which is another way of saying that it was cheaper to expand in North Carolina. This is humiliating for Condon, who has lost face and quite likely something more tangible as the result of his dropping the case. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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