Multimedia Document Retrieval

NPR's All Things Considered
Broadcast 25/04/2000, Story 11

This is n. p. r.'s all things considered i'm robert siegal and i'm noah adams the department of justice briefed white house economic advisers today on the government's proposal for the final phase of the microsoft anti trust case

The justice department appears to be leaning toward a recommendation to spin off the company's office products division

The idea is that such proposal would cause less disruption for consumers and other high tech companies and actually splitting the company into pieces

But as n. p. r.'s larry abramson reports the fighting the company up would be a complicated process

Once upon a time microsoft's clothes were talking about breaking the company into so called b. t. bills separate versions of the same company much like the government action against standard oil in nineteen eleven

But many analysts feared that would leave computer users with the level of competing operating system similar to the situation in the early days of the p. c. when he when peter brandt have its own system but the plan to sever the office products division will not be painless

Programs that word excel in a look now control more than ninety percent of the market that wasn't always this way he used to be that programs like to know those wordperfect and lotus one two three four on top but in the nineteen eighties microsoft made a shrewd move according to david jaffe of the harvard business school

They recognize that there was virtues associated with integrating the programs together to create a bundle that would include not just for processing or a spreadsheet to put them together into one package in a very short period of time they went from being the number three or four player in the business to being the largest player in the business

Users have gravitated to microsoft office suite for the same reason they clung to windows it offers a simple unified system that makes it easy to exchange files with other users shaking up the status quo by breaking off microsoft's office division is supposed to create new opportunities for rival operating system slides minutes which now do not work with microsoft office software but not he says microsoft will still rule the market

If you break microsofts into two companies you still have essentially two monopolies still have one that owns about ninety percent of the world operating system and one that owns about ninety or ninety five percent of the world

Office furniture the software duffy says that in the short term a little will change unless the government is prepared to spark competition through further regulatory measures there are other complications

Some office programs are integrated with microsoft systems for running the network servers the big computers at the center of most office operations when the judge in this case tried to fashion a final remedy will have to figure out exactly how to extract the office division from the rest of the company analyst and kaczynski with international data corporation says that won't be easy

So the question has to be asked if they were going to segment microsoft where would the line of cleavage be with the chest at the office applications for the desktop or would also include applications that run on the server that would be a challenge for anyone to figure out where can they put in line without destroying something

Present he says that microsoft can be counted on to argue that the government's breakup plan would essentially killers office business by making millions of contended customers wrestle with change and the company will probably repeat those arguments on the case moves to appeal today microsoft c. e. o. steve bomber said again he's confident his company will be vindicated on appeal to the committee also offered employees additional stock options to make up for the recent crash in the company's share price

Larry abramson n. p. r. news washington

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