TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP PRAISES SETTLEMENT OF MICROSOFT SUIT

For Immediate Release Contact:  Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
  (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz today reacted to the Justice Department's decision to settle its antitrust suit with the Microsoft Corporation out of court.  Following is Schatz's statement.

"The settlement of the Microsoft case is a welcome development that will bring to an end the government’s latest quixotic attack on the high tech industry.  In the end, those that sought a conduct remedy prevailed over those that sought to break up the company.  This decision allows Microsoft to continue to produce innovative products and help consumers move into the Internet age.  The changes in the company’s business practices will enhance competition yet prevent the government from designing software – a practice that the courts have frowned upon.

"While many of the government plaintiffs in this case misunderstood the high tech industry, and were more interested in scoring political points than in settling the case, rational minds prevailed.  State attorneys general in Florida, Maryland, Kansas and Ohio stood firm against a break up of Microsoft.  They deserve credit for turning the tide in favor of a reasonable settlement in the face of their fellow AGs.  It was not clear whether those grandstanding hard liners were out to gouge a successful company at all costs, or whether they are simply technologically ignorant, or both.

"Microsoft deserves credit for dramatically moving toward the government’s position on changing its business practices.  At the same time, the company refused to allow the government to force it to give away its constitutionally protected intellectual property.  That decision is consistent with court cases that state the government has no business designing software.

"The settlement of this case is salutary for other reasons.  It prevents a group of greedy class action lawyers from gouging Microsoft on behalf of 'injured' consumers.  These manufactured cases should now be thrown out of the courts as a waste of the taxpayers' and the court’s time.  Americans should refuse to join in these lawsuits when asked, as a display of their disgust with this abuse of the court system.

"Finally, taxpayers are finally relieved of additional financial burdens – other than the cost of monitoring the settlement agreement – after being stuck with a bill of more than $30 million at the federal level and at least $2 million at the state level for this lengthy case."

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

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