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Microsoft Ordered to Split

Creator of the World's Most Popular Operating System Considered a Monopoly

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Picture of the exterior of the Microsft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

An exterior view of the Microsoft headquarters during the Microsoft CEO Summit is shown May 22, 2002 in Redmond, Washington.

(Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
Microsoft was the creator of the world's most popular operating system, Windows, and was accused of being a monopoly.

What drew the attention of the government was when Microsoft began to bundle their browser (Internet Explorer) into the Windows platform, which they had given certain incentives to computer manufacturers to pre-install onto their computers. By doing this, Microsoft quickly gained a large market of the world's Internet browsers.

To the U.S. government, Microsoft's hold on the computer business for operating systems, software, and browsers looked like a monopoly. After a long legal battle, federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his Final Judgment on June 7, 2000 ordering Microsoft to split into two separate and competing companies.

Microsoft appealed the decision directly to the Supreme Court, but was told on September 26, 2000 that a lower court would first hear the appeal. The appeals process continued for a year and then on November 2, 2001, an agreement was reached between the Department of Justice and Microsoft. Microsoft would not be split but would be more transparent in its sharing of programming language with third-party developers.

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