TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP CONDEMNS RULING IN MICROSOFT SUIT | Citizens Against Government Waste

TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP CONDEMNS RULING IN MICROSOFT SUIT

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Jim Campi
April 3, 2000(202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz today reacted to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's conclusions of law in the Microsoft antitrust case.  Following is Schatz's statement.

“Judge Jackson's ruling is a step backwards for the American ideal of limited government and individual choice.  The winners in this case are big-government lawyers and bureaucrats who profit from regulation by litigation, and who now have a heavy hand in the extraordinarily dynamic information technology marketplace.  The ruling is a massive blow to the pocketbook of every taxpayer and technology consumer.  In fact, the near-record point drop today in the NASDAQ average cost American investors $350 billion.

“The government’s technological ineptitude was on full display over the past several days leading up to Judge Jackson’s decision.  Microsoft had gone the extra mile – and beyond – in order to resolve the case.  But the intransigence of several state attorneys general (AGs) apparently caused settlement talks to break down.  The AGs from Connecticut, Iowa and Wisconsin tried to restrict software that was not at issue in the lawsuit.  In addition, the government reportedly discussed the settlement offer with Microsoft’s competitors, who rejected it as inadequate.  This outrageous behavior is further evidence that this case has never been about consumers.  It is about competitors and how government lawyers convinced Judge Jackson that they know best how the technology marketplace should work.

“Taxpayers have gotten little for the $35 million they have been charged by the Department of Justice and the state AGs' prosecution of this case.  Government lawyers failed to produce a single consumer claiming to be harmed by Microsoft's competitive practices, and now private class action attorneys are manufacturing plaintiffs and filing frivolous lawsuits.

“We are confident that this ruling will eventually be overturned, but we bemoan the fact that it will take more years and millions more taxpayer dollars.  In the interim, state AGs and class action lawyers should demonstrate restraint until the conclusion of this legal process.  Additional lawsuits will only give taxpayers the added burden of inherently duplicative litigation and encourage more government intervention in the marketplace.”

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

 

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