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Judge's Final Ruling in Microsoft Case Expected Today

Aired June 7, 2000 - 2:03 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The federal judge overseeing the government's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft is expected to issue his final decision in this case in about 2 1/2 hours.

If recent history in any guide, the ruling will not be in Microsoft's favor. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has already signaled his opinion that Microsoft is a monopoly.

Covering this for us from Washington is CNN technology correspondent Rick Lockridge.

Rick, what can we expect from the judge this afternoon?

RICK LOCKRIDGE, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, what is expected, as you mentioned, is that at 4:30 p.m. East Coast time, Judge Jackson will conclude at least his involvement in the case with an order to follow the Justice Department's basic plan to break Microsoft up into two companies: a Windows company and another company that would own everything else Microsoft makes. That is the expected ruling.

Microsoft's expected reaction is to denounce the judge, the ruling and then to appeal -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Rick, how dominant, would you say, is Microsoft in the marketplace?

LOCKRIDGE: Well, during this trial, the two-year trial, the judge ruled that Microsoft is not only a monopoly, but used its monopoly power to harm competitors. In fact, Microsoft has two monopolies: one on Windows operating system software for personal computers, where it controls more than 90 percent of the marketplace, and another on office applications such as word processing and spreadsheet programs, where it also has 90-plus percent of the market.

Now bear in mind a lot of people believe Microsoft's dominance has done the world a lot of good.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY BEACH, PUBLISHER, "CIO" MAGAZINE: Applications work. They work seamlessly. By the proposed solutions that were sought here today, that might not be the case. You might be in Japan and you'll receive a Word document from a colleague in the United States five years from now and it might not work. And this whole case has not been about consumers; it's been about competitors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LOCKRIDGE: And Microsoft has always been afraid its competition would eventually catch up, a fear that is not unreasonable given the fact that its business software lead is barely in the double digits over Linux. And there is no certainty that in the Internet-based future, with all the hand-held devices and Internet appliances we'll be using, that Microsoft products will play an important role.

Bill Gates is expected to go before a TV camera at his own studios in Redmond, Washington later today and condemn the ruling. He was in Washington, D.C., right here where we are, earlier this morning with a whole slate of public appearances scheduled. But when he heard the judge was going to announce the ruling later today, Kyra, he got on a plane to head back to Redmond.

PHILLIPS: Rick Lockridge, thank you.

And CNN of course will have extensive live coverage of the Microsoft decision, expected about 2 1/2 hours from now, at 4:30 Eastern.

The full report will be posted on the Web at usvms.gpo.gov, which you can link to from our Web site, cnn.com. CNN.com has a special in- depth section on the Microsoft situation, including legal explanations and court transcripts, information on key players, analysis of the economic impact, and a section for you to post your opinion.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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