Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
January 12, 2001(202) 467-5300


Washington, D.C. – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today called for an end to the wasteful and unnecessary Microsoft antitrust case and criticized the government’s Friday filing of a 150-page brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.  The brief is in response to Microsoft’s appeal brief filed in November.

“With a staggering economy and rapidly weakening technology sector, the folly of the original Microsoft suit should now be evident to all,” CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz said.  “Instead of celebrating those individuals and corporations responsible for remaking and adding trillions of dollars in new value to the economy, the current players in Washington seem more intent on pursuing personal vendettas than the common good.  In the same week that the Federal Trade Commission approved the merger of AOL and Time Warner, the Justice Department continues to call for the breakup of Microsoft.

Federal District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who ordered the breakup of the company, recently accused Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates of being arrogant and compared him to Napoleon.  He also said company officials behave like children in a press interview that follows previous prejudicial public comments that likely violate ethical requirements that judges not comment on their own cases.  Should the Court of Appeals reverse Jackson’s decision in whole or in part, the case would normally come back to him.  That is less and less likely as Jackson talks more and more about his personal views, which clearly influenced his legal conclusions.

“Hopefully, help is on the way from the incoming administration, which is on-the-record as favoring ‘innovation, not regulation,’” Schatz added.  “This nation’s most productive and creative businesses should be focused on creating new jobs and wealth, not distracted by junk-lawsuits.  It’s time to end this case once and for all and to prevent similar debacles in the future.”

In related legal action, Judge J. Federick Motz of the federal district court in Baltimore today dismissed the majority of private class action suits against Microsoft in a multi-district litigation proceeding that consolidated 60 cases.  Virtually all of these lawsuits were initiated by plaintiffs’ attorneys after Judge Jackson’s decision, and were not brought by consumers.

CAGW estimates that at least $45 million has been spent to date on the Microsoft case by the federal and state governments.  Many financial analysts agree that the litigation and the decision to break up the company helped precipitate the sharp drop in the Nasdaq market beginning in April 2000. 

"Taxpayers, consumers and investors could have saved a lot of money if this matter had been settled in fair marketplace competition.  Regardless of the Justice Department’s and Judge Jackson's enmity, the free enterprise system will eventually decide Microsoft's fate,” Schatz concluded.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with over a million members and supporters, dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government. 

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