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Here are some general comments about the case and Findings of Fact.

Microsoft's own messages were used against it
Time and again, the judge agreed with what Microsoft has been saying to the world about why PCs were better than other technologies, such as Information Appliances, Network Computers, and Java.

Companies in a monopoly position have to compete differently
Microsoft keeps saying that what they do is no different than competition methods used by other companies (though they may be better at executing those methods). Why should they be treated differently? They say they are being made to unfairly fight with a hand tied behind their back.

As I understand it, if you have a monopoly position, the rules about what you are allowed to do and not do are different than for those without a monopoly, so you can't do some things your competition can. Yes, you must fight with a hand tied behind your back, but you have more hands so it will even out.

The case came down to timeframes
Microsoft sees that they could be overthrown by another company or technology, just as they (and the PC) overthrew the old IBM/mainframe leaders. They remember very well how IBM was that invincible image on the screen in Apple's 1984 TV commercial. (For those of you who haven't seen it, you must see that ad -- Chiat/Day has the script and video on its web site. IBM really did feel that dominant in those days.) They helped take the personal computer/GUI vision (on both the Mac and with Windows) and unseat an unbeatable industry force. They know it could happen to them. Soon in computer time.

The DOJ sees it as Microsoft is dominant now, and is unlikely to be overthrown in the next few years.

It is like the DOJ thinks Microsoft is in a ball game and blowing out the competition. Microsoft thinks they are ahead by two points.

The judge sided with the DOJ.

When is there a monopoly?
Another difference of opinion is about what constitutes a monopoly. As I understand it, Microsoft feels you have a monopoly when you have absolutely no competition. (For example, when you own all the mines for a particular mineral.) If you have to do anything special to defend your position, they feel you do not have a monopoly and therefore can use any legal means to protect their position. Since Netscape attacked them and was actually getting market share, they had competition and therefore were not a monopoly.

The judge's position seems to be that you have a monopoly when you have a very large market share, protected by high barriers to entry that you can maintain, and there are no viable alternatives. The barriers don't have to be static, like ownership of a limited resource. If you can use your position to make sure there are always barriers then the barriers are sufficient to be a monopoly. Competition is OK. In fact, the existence of competition that fails is used as proof there are barriers.

According to some parts of the Clayton Act (300KB+ file on DOJ site) that I read as a lay person, I keep seeing "...where the effect ... may be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce" as the illegal behavior. This is in relation to different prices or agreement not to use the goods of a competitor. "Tend to create" sounds like judges are being given discretion.

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