The Bull

Tuesday 16

October, 201812:53 PM



DICTIONARY : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Baby Bills

What does it mean?

 

In 2001, the decision in the antitrust case of the US versus Microsoft Corporation allowed Microsoft to stay intact as a single company. Beginning in 1999, the US regulatory authorities had been pushing for Microsoft to spin off some of its assets into smaller companies that are today referred to as Baby Bills. This name came about as a combination of Bill Gates, the principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation, and Baby Bells, which is the name that was given to the reconfigured independent entities that resulted from AT&T’s break-up following the verdict in their own antitrust case in 1982.

 

Microsoft’s antitrust case

 

Since the case was settled through another agreement that allowed Microsoft to remain intact, the reference to Baby Bills as the name for the would-be companies resulting from the division of the software giant remains as a humorous reminder of the landmark antitrust battle. Beginning in 1992, the Federal Trade Commission launched an inquiry into whether the PC operating system market was being unfairly monopolized by Microsoft.

 

The crux of the case centred around the pairing of Microsoft PCs and Internet Explorer, as the pre-loaded availability of Internet Explorer made competition from other browsers unlikely. There were also other allegations made as to whether Microsoft was altering the application programming interfaces on their PCs to support Internet Explorer over other available browsers on the market.

 

The result of the Microsoft case

 

While the courts pushed to have Microsoft broken up into the proposed Baby Bills companies, ultimately the settlement instead dictated that Microsoft would have to offer third-party companies public access to its application programming interfaces and that a panel would have full access to any required documents, systems and codes to ensure that Microsoft was delivering on their promises.

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