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Verdict a virtual down-the-line victory for prosecution

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Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson today issued the expected guilty verdict in the Microsoft antitrust case. He concluded that "Microsoft maintained its monopoly power by anticompetitive means and attempted to monopolise the Web browser market." Jackson also concludes that Microsoft violated the Sherman antitrust act "by unlawfully tying its Web browser to its operating system." But there's some small cheer for Redmond here - Jackson doesn't reckon that Microsoft's marketing deals with otrher companies (i.e., with ISPs and, maybe, OEMs, "constituted unlawful exclusive dealing." Jackson does accept that Microsoft's violation of the Sherman Act also makes it liable under the laws of the 19 plaintiff states, which is bad news as regards Redmond damage control. He concludes that Microsoft has monopoly power (which we knew he thought already), that there is no rival that could could challenge this monopoly in the near future, and that it maintained that monopoly by anticompetittive means. In the next phase, unless there's another, more successful attempt at an out of court deal, he's going to have to figure out what to do about it. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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