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Antitrust and the Internet

"Opening Markets and Protecting Competition For America’s Businesses and Consumers: Goals and Achievements of the Antitrust Division", U.S. Department of Justice, March 27, 1996


In April 1995, the Antitrust Division filed suit to challenge Microsoft's planned $2 billion acquisition of Intuit, Inc., the dominant producer of personal finance/checkbook software. At the time of the suit, Intuit and Microsoft accounted for more than 90 percent of the personal finance software sales in the United States. The Division alleged that allowing Microsoft to buy a dominant position in such a highly concentrated market would have resulted in higher prices and lessened innovation. In addition, the Division alleged that Microsoft's control of the personal finance software market would have given it a cornerstone asset that could be used with its existing dominant position in operating systems for personal computers to seize control of markets of the future, including PC-based home banking. The Division rejected Microsoft's proposed "fix" in which some, but not all, of its Money personal finance software assets would have been transferred to Novell Inc., since the Division believed that Novell would not be as effective a competitor with Money as was Microsoft. The U.S. District Court for Northern California set an expedited trial date for June 26, 1995. Nevertheless, Microsoft announced on May 20, 1995 that it would abandon its proposed acquisition of Intuit.

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