U.S. won’t split Microsoft

DOJ streamlining case, but antitrust charges still active

In a victory for Microsoft, U.S. regulators said Thursday that they won’t seek to break up the software giant or pursue claims that it illegally tied its Internet Explorer Web browser to its Windows operating system.

In dismissing the most dramatic of remedies in the 3-year-old antitrust suit, the Dept. of Justice said it thinks it will be able to more effectively and quickly pursue others claims brought against Microsoft.

“The Department is seeking to streamline the case with the goal of securing an effective remedy as quickly as possible,” the DOJ said in a statement.

PC punishment

Agency is asking for restrictions on Microsoft’s business modeled after a set of interim sanctions handed down last year by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. They include requiring Microsoft to give outside software developers better access to the Windows source code and to license Windows under uniform terms to all PC makers. The ruling also banned the Seattle company from threatening or intimidating PC makers who support rival software.

District Court Judge Colleen Lollar-Kotelly will hold hearings aimed at working out specific sanctions, with the first meeting on the case scheduled for Sept. 21.

Microsoft chief financial officer John Conners told investors at a conference in New York on Thursday that company execs “are anxious to move forward to a fair and expeditious settlement.”

After an initial boost, Microsoft shares fell nearly 3% on Thursday in a down market to close at $56.02.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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