December 7, 1998

           (202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America’s largest taxpayer advocacy group, today congratulated South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon for dropping the state’s antitrust suit against software maker Microsoft and encouraged other attorneys general to follow his lead.  CAGW is currently examining the Microsoft case and the waste involved in pursuing a lawsuit against a company which most Americans view as a positive force in the economy.

In October, in conjunction with the Technology Access Action Coalition, CAGW released a survey demonstrating that the public overwhelmingly favors allowing the high technology industry to develop in an environment free of costly government interference.  In particular, 83 percent view the pursuit of Microsoft as a waste of federal and state taxpayer funds and resources.  As Attorney General Condon stated today, “Over the last year, it has become clear that the government’s case has been about Internet competitors, not consumers.”

In the wake of these decisive numbers, CAGW wrote to state attorneys general questioning the basis of the antitrust suit.  “We are pleased that our message has been received in South Carolina and salute the courage of Attorney General Condon in putting sound legal judgment before politics, publicity, and Microsoft’s competitors,” said CAGW president Tom Schatz.  “We hope and expect that more attorneys general will follow suit.  In the wake of the merger between America Online and Netscape, it is clear that any argument that Microsoft is driving off the competition is pure fallacy.”

The Netscape takeover news completely undercuts the central point of the government’s current case against Windows 98 and Microsoft.  “With new evidence every day of the weakness in the government’s case, it’s only a matter of whether the government wants to wait 13 years, as it did in the IBM case, or wake up now and get out of the high tech industry for good.  As usual, the states are beating the federal government to the punch when it comes to limiting the use – and abuse – of government power.  Hopefully, the other attorneys general and Department of Justice will follow South Carolina’s example,” Schatz concluded.

CAGW is a 600,000-member nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of  government waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.


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