The settlement news has also received a mixed response from technology industry and lobbying groups. Jim Prendergast, executive director of Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL), a Washington-based coalition of technology professionals, consumers and organizations that want to limit government regulation of technology, welcomed the settlement as "a significant step for the industry in moving away from the era of excessive litigation." Members of the technology industry need to focus their time and resources on innovation and competition, not litigation, he said. "This will allow Microsoft, AOL and the entire industry to focus on creating better products and serving consumers This settlement is good news for consumers, the industry and the entire economy," he said."Before this settlement Microsoft dominated the Web browser market, but it lacked control over the distribution of digital music and other multimedia content over the Internet. After this settlement Microsoft is well on its way to erecting a tollbooth on the Internet through which all multimedia content must pass. Consumers will be caught in a vice grip, both when they enter the Internet and when they try to download multimedia with content from it," he said. AOL had also filed its antitrust suit because of Microsofts anticompetitive behavior in the market for Internet browsers, the AAI spokesman pointed out. This was the same activity that the Department of Justice challenged in its 1998 antitrust complaint. "A unanimous decision in 2001 by the U.S. Court of Appeals held that Microsoft had violated the antitrust laws by illegally attempting to maintain its Windows operating system monopoly by destroying Netscape as an effective browser perceived to be a potential competitor to Windows. "The Department of Justice subsequently entered into a settlement with Microsoft that the American Antitrust Institute and many others have criticized for doing nothing to restore competition to the browser market," he said.
But a spokesman for the American Antitrust Institute (AAI), a Washington advocacy organization, said that while the settlement benefits both companies, it is likely to harm competition and consumer choice.