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Anti-trust remedy splits Microsoft into two parts



David Bicknell

Users have welcomed the US Department of Justice's plans to split Microsoft into two companies - one focusing on...



David Bicknell

Users have welcomed the US Department of Justice's plans to split Microsoft into two companies - one focusing on operating systems and the other on applications.

Despite Microsoft claims that a split - which could take years to implement - is bad for innovation, users say they would rather cut down Microsoft's market power in favour of more competition, even if it means short-term interoperability worries.

Geoff Petherick, chief executive of the UKCMG user group, said the Department of Justice plans were "great news". He insisted that competition in the marketplace would ensure that any interoperability concerns from users familiar with closely-tied Microsoft operating systems and applications would remain short-term worries.

The US government anti-trust remedy plans filed last week also call for a host of interim remedies, including requiring Microsoft to share application programming interfaces with third-party developers as soon as they are used internally. Microsoft described the plans as "like asking McDonalds to sell burgers, but not fries, and forcing it to give its secret recipe to Burger King."

Microsoft is already facing queries over its approach to the handheld computer market. The US government has a Microsoft e-mail that suggests "a willingness to change the detail of its Office applications to favour devices that run on Windows, even if it disadvantages other users who rely on the Palm Pilot."

This was first published in May 2000

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