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Microsoft Says Breakup Would Reverse Government Stance

May 23, 2000|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Getting in the last word before a critical remedies hearing begins Wednesday, Microsoft contended Monday in a new brief that the government is seeking to reverse a stance it took five years ago in another Microsoft case, when federal officials said it would be against the public interest to break up the software giant. Microsoft also argued in the nine-page filing that the government failed to find a case in which a company accused of antitrust violations was forced to split up. Microsoft said government lawyers cite only cases where a breakup was voluntary.

To that end, Microsoft heavily attacked the government's reliance on the breakup of AT&T, arguing that the goal in that case was to undo a government-sanctioned monopoly. "The government had it right in 1995: The law does not countenance the dismemberment of Microsoft, a remedy that would clearly 'act against the public interest,' " Microsoft said in the filing, referring to an earlier action against it by the Justice Department.

Separately, Microsoft said Jim Allchin, group vice president who heads development of the Windows operating system, will take a two-month leave of absence this summer. Allchin, 48, will return in September, the company said.

Microsoft shares closed off 88 cents at $64.19 on Nasdaq.

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