June 13, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- While industry analysts are expressing shock at U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's order this week that Microsoft be split into two companies, a Western Michigan University professor says he's not a bit surprised.
Dr. Norman W. Hawker, an associate professor of finance and commercial law in WMU's Haworth College of Business, says antitrust law required a breakup. In fact, Hawker predicted the action earlier this year when Jackson found the company guilty of violating the law.
"This decision shows that antitrust law is alive and well, and that it can be adapted to modern circumstances," Hawker says of the legislation enacted in 1890 and 1914. "I can't speak to the possible economic ramifications of the breakup decision, but I do believe that Judge Jackson followed the law. He used solid, straightforward, mainstream antitrust legal principals, and I don't foresee other judges - including the justices of the Supreme Court - overturning the bulk of his findings."
Hawker, a former assistant attorney general for Michigan, contends that a breakup was needed because of Microsoft's history of noncompliance with court orders.
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