After a much-hyped trial, US Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has finally found Microsoft guilty of being a monopoly and of violating antitrust laws.
Jackson said Microsoft's actions had harmed consumers and that the software giant has used its power to punish competing firms.
He claimed that the company has also breached sections one and two of the Sherman Antitrust Act by unlawfully tying its Web browser to its operating system.
The case started when the US Justice Department and 19 US states charged Microsoft with abusing its position in the industry in order to sell more copies of its own Internet browser, and damage the business prospects of the rival Netscape Navigator browser.
The Judge will now 'consider remedies', such as restrictions on Microsoft's activities or even breaking up the company, and a hearing on these looks set to take place on May 24th.
Microsoft is already on the offensive. Just hours after the ruling, it kicked off a wide-ranging public relations campaign to shore up its image.
Bill Gates, the software giant's chairman, took to the airwaves in a series of 30-second TV advertisements to talk of the innovations it has introduced over the years.
He told viewers that 'Our goal at Microsoft is to create the next generation of software, to keep innovating and improving what we can do for you. The best is yet to come.'
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