Microsoft is a large diversified computer software manufacturer with one of the highest valuations in the world. Microsoft produces the Windows family of operating systems for personal computers and servers. It also produces applications software that run on the Windows family of operating systems, most notably the very successful MS- Office Suite consisting of Word (word processor), Excel (spreadsheet), PowerPoint (presentations), Outlook (e-mail and news), and Access (database).1 Almost all Microsoft products are complementary to a member of the Windows family of operating systems for personal computers and servers.
During the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice of the United States have investigated Microsoft on various antitrust allegations. The 1991-1993 and 1993-1994 investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) ended with no lawsuits. The 1994 investigation2 by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) was terminated with a consent decree in 1995.3 The key provisions of the 1995 consent decree were:
Microsoft agreed to end “per-processor” (zero marginal price) contracts with computer manufacturers (Original Equipment Manufacturers, “OEMs”) but it was allowed to use unrestricted quantity discounts.
“Microsoft shall not enter into any License Agreement in which the terms of that agreement are expressly or impliedly conditioned upon the licensing of any other Covered Product, Operating System Software product or other product (provided,
1 Microsoft produces software, including operating systems for PC (Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000), operating systems for local network and Internet servers (Windows NT, 2000), “back-office” products for network and Internet servers, Internet clients, Internet and network servers, desktop applications (Office, Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint, MS-Money, etc.), games, and programming languages (Visual Basic, Java). Microsoft also produces services,...