Bad News for Microsoft? Obama Admin to Beef Up Antitrust Enforcement

The other day, we joked about Microsoft returning to its glory days by using its Windows monopoly to elbow out web browsers that compete with Internet Explorer. Well, perhaps it will be returning to its glory days on the legal front as well.

If you'll recall, back when the company was making big bucks in the 90s, it was also facing some pretty intense antitrust scrutiny from the federal government, culminating in the case United States v. Microsoft, which produced some pretty entertaining courtroom exchanges. Microsoft lost the case, though it was partly bailed out by Thomas Penfield Jackson's big mouth, and the Bush Administration essentially dropped the case when it took over.

Times are a' changin', though--Christine A. Varney, who heads the Justice Department's antitrust division--announced that the Obama Administration will be pursuing antitrust cases more aggressively. Arguing that the Bush Administration's hands-off approach "lost sight of an ultimate goal of antitrust laws -- the protection of consumer welfare", Varney said "Vigorous antitrust enforcement must play a significant role in the government's response to economic crises to ensure that markets remain competitive."

University of Iowa antitrust law expert told the New York Times, "This will be bad news for heavyweights in the tech industries -- companies like Google and Microsoft."

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