Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Litigating States' Proposed Remedy for Microsoft


Author Info

  • Hahn, Robert W.


State officials face well-funded, well-organized coalitions of in-state businesses arguing for the prosecution of an out-of-state company, an unequal political contest. Accordingly, the state attorneys general (AGs) have resisted settlement attempts and have pushed both the Justice Department and the courts for stronger action against Microsoft. In the process, the interests of consumers, the AGs' nominal clients, have been paid little more than lip service. The nine litigating states and the District of Columbia together account for just 27 percent of the U. S. population. But they do represent many of Microsoft's most vocal rivals. California is home to Apple, Palm, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Netscape. Massachusetts is home to the Lotus division of IBM as well as major operations of Sun and Oracle. Utah is home to Novell. By far, the most overreaching provision in the litigating states' proposal is the prohibition on 'binding' middleware code to Microsoft's operating system software. In short, the litigating states would require Microsoft to allow licensees to remove the software code for any function that a Windows licensee could conceivably single out, while still requiring Microsoft to maintain the performance of the operating system. If Microsoft were able to comply technically, which is far from clear, it would have to rewrite Windows from scratch as a combination of thousands of separable, modular components. This would balkanize Windows as a platform for applications software. Developers would no longer be able to count on the presence of key segments of software code. Indeed, to ensure that their software worked properly, developers would have to provide those features themselves. As a result, consumers would encounter different flavors of Windows with differing capabilities. Adding to Microsoft's (and consumers') woes, the litigating states would require Microsoft to license large amounts of its intellectual property to competitors for little or no compensation. Competitors would get Microsoft's software code for free. But consumers would suffer in the long term from decreased innovation since Microsoft would be left with little incentive to develop Windows or many of its applications programs.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Archive Maintainer)
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 463.

as in new window
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:463

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Related research



No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.



This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:463. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Archive Maintainer).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.