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Microsoft Faces Macro Problems in Third Phase of Antitrust TrialAired April 4, 2000 - 1:05 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there is nothing micro about the legal problems swirling around the world's largest software company or the sudden financial losses of the world's richest man and many investors. On the other hand, your desktop computer works just as well today as it did yesterday, and the Internet is not going anywhere. Such is life in the aftermath of a blistering verdict in the U.S. government's antitrust case against Microsoft, a verdict that sent the company's share price plummeting.
CNN's Steve Young joins us now with a look at what happens next and what it could mean -- Steve.
STEVE YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donna, you're right, Microsoft faces macro problems in this third and final phase of this long, long antitrust trial that began in October of 1998. This is what called the remedy phase, it is what would be the equivalent in a normal trial of the sentencing. And in order to set the sentence, the judge is going to hear more expert testimony, more witnesses, presumably from companies, technology companies that feel that Microsoft needs to be reined in, maybe needs to have very severe control on its business or in what Bill Gate's calls a drastic and unacceptable proposal be broken up.
Indeed, last night, Sun Microsystems, which has been calling for the breakup of Bill Gates' company even proposed how to do it, saying that Microsoft should be broken up into five units.
But Microsoft's chief operating officer, Bob Herbold, doesn't think that's a good idea. He talked about it today on CNNfn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT HERBOLD, COO, MICROSOFT: We believe that the consumer is best served by companies that decide themselves how to organize and how to put products in front of those consumers that they believe will -- will improve their lives. That's what this industry is about, and that's what Microsoft is all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Well, Microsoft is banking on the fact that it is going to get a better hearing from the appellate court. You heard the voice of Bill Gates at the top of the program talking about that. It has a dominant, indeed a monopoly, in those Windows products. And consumers might get a break, might get some money back, depending on how this case winds up down the road because the testimony at trial was that people had paid between $20 and $35 a copy more than they would have if Microsoft did not have a monopoly.
And if Microsoft loses on appeal, and it will go to appellate court and, indeed, to the Supreme Court, if Microsoft loses there, there is the possibility that everybody who bought Windows, and there are 300 million everybodies out there across the world, could get back some money. And Microsoft could be facing a bill -- maybe a bill of $6 billion -- Donna.
KELLEY: Steve Young, thanks very much.
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