The Following is a Media Advisory Issued by Western Michigan University:
Media AdvisoryMA #73; June 28, 2001
In the wake of today's U.S. Court of Appeals ruling reversing a lower court order that Microsoft Corp. be broken into two companies, a Western Michigan University professor warns that this decision is not the big Microsoft victory it initially appears to be.
"To the contrary, this is really a victory in defeat's clothing for the government," says antitrust expert Dr. Norman W. Hawker, an associate professor of finance and commercial law in WMU's Haworth College of Business and a Research Fellow with the American Antitrust Institute.
Today's ruling vacated the remedies ordered by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson just over one year ago. Although the Appeals Court ruled that Microsoft had indeed violated antitrust laws, it also found that Jackson had improperly conducted himself in the case by holding secret interviews with members of the media.
"Microsoft lost on two critical issues. First, the Court of Appeals held that Microsoft is a monopoly. Second, the court held that Microsoft violated antitrust law," says Hawker. "I believe Judge Jackson's original remedy was based on solid law. He used solid, straight-forward, mainstream antitrust legal principles.
"The importance of a conservative court of appeals holding Microsoft to be an abusive monopolist cannot be overstated. It is unfortunate that Judge Jackson made himself a target by talking to reporters."
Hawker, who has written numerous articles on antitrust law and the Microsoft case, is a former assistant attorney general for Michigan.
Hawker can be reached for comment at his office, (616) 387-6118, or at his home, (616) 349-5909.