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The Microsoft antitrust saga

A chronology of the key events in the antitrust confrontation between software giant Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. government:

1990 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999


June - Federal Trade Commission (FTC) secretly investigates possible collusion between Microsoft and International Business Machines Corp.


Feb. 5 - FTC takes no action against Microsoft after 2-2 vote of its commissioners.

Aug. 21 - U.S. Justice Department takes over Microsoft investigation.


July 15 - Microsoft and Justice sign consent decree that says Microsoft cannot require computer makers that license its Windows operating system to also license any other software product, but Microsoft may develop "integrated products."

October - Microsoft announces proposed $1.5 billion acquisition of Intuit Inc., maker of Quicken personal finance software.


Feb. 14 - U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin throws out consent decree as too easy on Microsoft.

April - Microsoft drops Intuit acquisition in face of Justice Department lawsuit.

June 16 - Appellate court overturns Sporkin ruling at joint request of Microsoft and Justice Department. Case then transferred to U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

Aug. 21 - Judge Jackson approves consent decree.


September - Government investigates possible violation of consent decree by Microsoft.


Oct. 20 - Justice Department asks Judge Jackson to fine Microsoft $1 million a day for allegedly violating the consent decree by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 95. Microsoft says browser is an integrated part of the operating system.

Dec. 11 - Judge Jackson issues preliminary injunction against Microsoft, requires unbundling of Web browser from operating system. Appoints "special master" to advise him.

Dec. 16 - Microsoft appeals Jackson's decision, offers computer makers old or "broken" version of Windows 95 without Internet Explorer. One day later, Justice Department asks Jackson to hold Microsoft in contempt for failing to obey order.


Jan. 13-15 - Jackson rejects assertions of Microsoft lawyers and a company executive during contempt hearing.

Jan. 16, - Microsoft appeals appointment of special master to U.S. Court of Appeals.

Jan. 22 - Facing certain contempt citation, Microsoft signs agreement giving computer makers freedom to install Windows 95 without Internet Explorer icon.

Feb. 2 - Court of Appeals halts proceedings before special master.

May 12 - Appeals Court rules that injunction against Microsoft should not apply to Windows 98, allowing Microsoft to proceed with launch of new product.

May 18 - Justice Department, 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia file major new antitrust cases alleging Microsoft abuses its market power to thwart competition.

Sept. 14 - Jackson rejects Microsoft motion for summary judgment to end the case.

Oct. 19 - Antitrust trial of Microsoft begins before Jackson.

Dec. 7 - South Carolina withdraws, leaving 19 states supporting the federal government against Microsoft.


Feb. 16 - Microsoft trial first phase recesses after hearing 12 witnesses from each side and video depositions including one by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

May 27 - Deposition by IBM's Garry Norris, who later becomes first computer maker executive testifying against Microsoft.

June 1 - Microsoft trial rebuttal phase begins.

June 24 - Microsoft trial testimony ends.

Sept. 21 - Closing arguments for "findings of fact" in trial take place.

Nov. 5 - Judge Jackson rules that Microsoft is a monopoly whose tactics hurt consumers. -Read his findings

-BY Staff and Reuters


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