I am pleased with recent developments related to the Microsoft case and am hopeful that a final settlement is soon reached between the Justice Department, Microsoft and the states. This proposal represents real progress, and I’m confident that it will afford predictability to the company to move forward with its business plans, allow for continued delivery of high quality products to consumers and will give investors and entrepreneurs confidence that the government will not stifle innovation.
Among other things, the deal would provide protection for Microsoft’s intellectual property while the company shares its Windows’ source code in a secure facility. Further, Microsoft would have to give hardware makers more control of the desktop, such as which icons users first see when starting their computers. Microsoft would also have to provide more of its code to firms that want to create applications that would run on Windows. Importantly, the deal would require the company to provide independent monitors with full access to its books and plans for five years to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement.
I believe that the consent decree will address the concerns expressed by some consumer groups and some of Microsoft’s competitors while avoiding the radical remedies that have been discussed. Breaking up the company was never in the interest of consumers or the technology industry in general, and I believe that this proposed settlement recognizes that fact.
Finally, I am hopeful that the states will agree to the terms of this settlement. It is a balanced and fair approach to finally solving a case that has already dragged on for far too long. It is time for the technology industry and our economy to get on with business and this settlement will allow just that.