DOJ ponders Microsoft breakup

Computer World –

The U.S. Department of Justice has contacted experts to analyze how best to break up Microsoft Corp. in the event the government prevails in its antitrust case against the software giant, a DOJ official said today.

However, the government's search to find a course of action to take against Microsoft is normal as the trial reaches its end, Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said today.

"We've been looking at possible remedies, but it's premature," Talamona said. "The judge hasn't even ruled on whether Microsoft is liable. We've said all along we would talk to experts, asking for a wide variety of options. But we haven't even made a decision on what kind of remedies we may or may not ask for."

The DOJ has reportedly approached investment banks for an analysis of a possible Microsoft breakup, but Talamona refused to discuss details of the government inquiries.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for September, with U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson expected to rule later this year. If the judge finds Microsoft liable for antitrust violations, a hearing could be held to determine remedies.

One lawyer familiar with the trial, who asked for anonymity, said it is normal for the government to weigh possible remedies in any antitrust case.

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