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Media Advisory: June 28, 2001

For Immediate Release
Nicholas Provenzo
: (703) 625-3296   

Appeals Court’s Microsoft Antitrust Decision Leaves Key Threats Against Businessmen Unchecked

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA—In a unanimous decision released earlier today, a federal appeals court reversed a lower court's order to break up Microsoft, citing "serious judicial misconduct'' by the lower court judge, but upheld the lower court’s determination that Microsoft engaged in “anti-competitive behavior.”  According to Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (CAC) President Nicholas Provenzo, “Removing the immediate fear of breakup is certainly a well deserved victory for Microsoft, but with a key portion of lower court’s decision upheld, it is not yet time to break out the champagne. Microsoft not being broken up is not the same thing as having its rights respected.” 

“I think today’s victory is a lot like beating off one particular mugger when you live in a violent neighborhood,” says Provenzo.  

In today’s ruling, the appeals court upheld the lower court’s determination that Microsoft’s business practices were anti-competitive. “What this boils down to is that the court held that Microsoft’s success gave it a coercive power to prevent other businesses from competing with it,” says Provenzo. “In fact, neither Microsoft nor any legitimate business holds such power. No business can outlaw its competitors or force people to buy its products. Microsoft is successful for no other reason than because it provides its customers with products they value.” 

“When the standard for judging a company like Microsoft is whether or not its legitimately earned success is a threat to others, it is not time to see if it falls within the standard—it is time to throw out the standard,” says Provenzo.  

“The Microsoft antitrust case is about whether or not Microsoft has a right to its property—the right to determine the composition of its products in a way that it decides makes the most business sense,” says Provenzo. “That Microsoft’s business tactics were held as “anti-competitive” by the lower court and that the appeals court chose to affirm this determination speaks directly to the injustice of antitrust."

“At root, today’s decision is less about how Judge Jackson was overruled for his inappropriate conduct during the district court trial and more about if our country is going to respect the rights of businessmen to their property," says Provenzo. “While the immediate threat of breakup has been removed, Microsoft—and by extension, all business—still faces genuine threats to its rights.”

“This unjust case needs to come to an end,” says Provenzo. “I call on CAC’s supporters to write President Bush, US Attorney General John Ashcroft, and their representatives in Congress urging them to bring an immediate end to the Microsoft antitrust case.” 

“Instead of continuing the attack on Microsoft, America needs to have a national debate over the arbitrary and unjust provisions of the antitrust laws and to bring an end to the practice of persecuting businessmen for their success,” says Provenzo. 

The mission of The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism is to present to the public a moral defense of individualism and economic freedom. The Center undertakes projects and activities designed to communicate its message to the public, the press, and policy leaders, targeting issues central to a moral defense of laissez-faire capitalism.

Copyright © 2001 The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism
PO Box 16325
Alexandria, VA 22302-8325, USA
Voice: (703) 625-3296 · Fax: (703) 997-1433

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