TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP ARGUES THAT NETSCAPE TAKEOVER REVEALS ABSURDITY OF ANTITRUST SUIT AGAINST MICROSOFT

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Jim Campi
November 24, 1998 (202) 467-5300

 

Washington, D.C. –Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today again questioned the rationale for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust suit against the Microsoft Corporation and other actions against high technology companies, including the investigations of Intel and Cisco Systems.  The group argues that American Online’s (AOL) bid to take over Netscape shows the dynamic and highly competitive nature of the high-tech sector of the U.S. economy and the foolishness of claiming that Microsoft – or any other company – maintains a monopoly on any part of the computer industry.

“It is outrageous that the Department of Justice would work to handicap one company in favor of another,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “The government’s anti-trust case is about helping Microsoft’s competitors, not helping consumers.”

CAGW’s recent joint poll with the Technology Action Access Coalition demonstrated that the American people have no appetite for a lengthy battle against Microsoft, 83 percent said they consider DOJ’s suit against Microsoft a waste of their hard-earned tax dollars.  The proposed AOL takeover of Netscape reinforces the need to examine the government’s attack on the high tech industry and how much of the taxpayer’s money is being squandered on this effort.  CAGW is already investigating this matter and will issue a special report after the first of the year.

As further evidence of the government’s information gap in regard to the computer industry, on Monday House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on Management, Information, and Technology Chairman Steve Horn (R-Calif.) released his latest report card on the government’s “progress” in solving the Year 2000 problem.  His overall grade was a D.  The inability of the government to fix its own computers, and its obvious lack of knowledge of the dynamics of the high tech industry, demonstrates that there are serious questions about the basis for the lawsuit against Microsoft and actions against Intel and Cisco.

Schatz was quick to note the absurdity of the situation.  He stated, “The irony in the instigation of this lawsuit by Netscape and its coconspirators is this:  When AOL, which will own Netscape, gets too big, will they be next?  If Microsoft’s critics are smart, they would urge the government to stay out of their industry, and ask the heads of all of their companies to come to Washington to fix the government’s computers before many of them crash on January 1, 2000.

The Netscape takeover news, coupled with the previous appeals court decision that Microsoft did not violate its agreement with the government by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 95, 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,” Schatz added.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.

 

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