Microsoft will not be broken up

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Today the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it wouldn't seek to have Microsoft broken up. The government also won't pursue a claim that Microsoft illegally bundled its Windows 95/98 operating system and Internet Explorer Web browser software.

The DOJ's decision isn't any great surprise to close watchers in the case -- in fact, an earlier court decision to break up the company had been overturned. But now the DOJ has made it clear that it won't pursue other remedies to break Microsoft up into multiple entities.

Initially, under the ruling of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, it appeared that Microsoft was heading for a split into two separate companies -- one that developed operating system software, and one that developed application software. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld eight separate antitrust claims in the case, but tossed out Jackson's order to break Microsoft in two. They also removed Jackson from the case.

"The Department will seek an order that is modeled after the interim conduct-related provisions of the Final Judgment previously ordered in the case," said the DOJ in a statement. The DOJ said that it's taking these actions to help provide consumers with "prompt, effective and certain relief."

A U.S. district judge presiding over the case last week ordered both Microsoft and the DOJ to file a joint status report to outline any remaining issues that are awaiting the court's decision. That report is due by September 14.

The government's litigation against Microsoft is far from over, although it may take different forms. In August, lawyers representing the government expressed concern about how Microsoft plans to market Windows XP, its next-generation operating system.

This story, "Microsoft will not be broken up" was originally published by PCWorld.

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