For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
May 25, 2000 (202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz issued the following statement in the wake of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s request that government prosecutors develop a plan that would break the Microsoft Corporation into at least three parts.

“When the U.S. v. Microsoft case is eventually sent to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the three-judge panel should issue a five-word decision to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson:  ‘What planet are you from?’

“Judge Jackson’s concept of mini-Microsofts goes where no court has gone before.  His proposal is unprecedented, unsupported by the evidence, and unsustainable on appeal.  It undermines intellectual property rights enshrined in the Constitution and undoes 25 years of work by Microsoft’s founders and employees – who even Judge Jackson admits have unlocked the Internet and improved people’s lives.

“The judge’s idea is unimaginable in a highly competitive technology industry.  While he has ruled that Microsoft has violated antitrust laws through its monopoly on operating systems, his breakup proposal would result in an uneven playing field, with the advantage going to Microsoft’s competitors.  They will have won an unrestrained and unusual victory without having to unleash their own legal teams.

“Judge Jackson’s remedy would also undo the retirement plans of tens of millions of Americans, adding to the uncertainty in the marketplace while this case remains unresolved through years of appeals.  This may be the most unconscionable result of the unsuitable remedy being contemplated by the judge.

“The judge’s plan to immediately impose the untried breakup without allowing adequate time for a response by Microsoft is untested and unsound.  It gives the company little time to unravel its integrated software production process and unsettles both its employees and investors.”

CAGW has long been critical of DOJ’s prosecution of Microsoft.  In February 1999, the taxpayer watchdog group issued a report condemning the government for bungling high tech issues.  CAGW’s efforts to obtain documentation from DOJ on the cost of the case has been hampered by the department’s refusal to release more than the most superficial information, despite repeated Freedom of Information Act requests.  CAGW estimates that more than $30 million has been spent by the government on this case.

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


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