Microsoft's greatest successes and biggest failures

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4. Whom do you anti-trust?

antitrust.jpgREUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates leaves the Egmont Palace after meeting Belgian Deputy Foreign Minister Annemie Neyts in Brussels, January 30, 2003. Gates shook his head and declined to answer when asked if he was happy with the European Union's decision on data privacy and confident of settling the antitrust case, both of which could restrict Microsoft's business.

For 21 years Microsoft battled the government over anti-trust allegations. Whether accused of predatory marketing or using its desktop monopoly to "crush" competitors, Microsoft found itself in the cross-hairs of both the US Department of Justice and the European Union. As an effort to release Microsoft's stranglehold on the PC market, the suits failed miserably. But Microsoft's reputation was permanently damaged. Its actions at trial were deemed "inaccurate, misleading, evasive, and transparently false" by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. Star witness Bill Gates proved stubbornly uncooperative, failing to remember almost anything that happened during his tenure as CEO. In short, Microsoft was every bit the monopolistic bully Judge Jackson proclaimed it to be.

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