Antitrust Lawsuits Rear Their
Heads"> 1996 A year later, after the hangover has worn off, the world realizes that Silverberg was right. It is only software, and it has plenty of bugs, which are partially dealt with in a service pack and an OEM version that includes Internet Explorer. Meanwhile, in a hint of things to come, the Windows 95 shell is grafted onto the Windows NT core to form Windows NT 4.0.Oh dear. Wasnt that antitrust unpleasantness settled just before Windows 95 shipped? Apparently not. On Oct. 27, the Justice Department pops all the remaining balloons and sweeps up the confetti from two years earlier when it files a preliminary antitrust complaint. Opening arguments begin in December. 1998 How low can you go? Very low, if you work at Microsoft. Practically subterranean, in fact. To Microsoft competitors, of course, its cause for cautious optimism. On May 18, the Department of Justice and 20 states file suit against Microsoft. In August and September, in a videotaped deposition, a sullen, disheveled Bill Gates almost single-handedly torpedoes Microsofts case. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer passes Netscape Navigator in market share and Windows users are gratified to get an upgrade that fixes most of the problems in Windows 95. Nobody lines up to buy Windows 98, but it quickly outsells Windows 95 thanks to the explosive growth of the PC market. 1999 The millennium is coming, the millennium is coming! The antitrust trial drags on. When Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson isnt dozing off in court, hes rebuking Microsofts lawyers and witnesses. On Nov. 5, the judge issues his findings of fact, which make clear that Windows is the product of an illegal monopoly. 2000 The year starts on a very high note for everyone, as the clock rolls over to a new millennium and the dreaded Y2K crisis fails to materialize. Windows 2000 debuts to rave reviews in February. And then things head sharply downhill for Microsoft by midyear. In June, Judge Jackson orders Microsoft broken into separate companies, and he instructs Microsoft to release a version of Windows that doesnt include Internet Explorer. July sees the release of Windows Millennium Edition. Roundly panned by reviewers, it earns the title of worst Windows version ever and ignominiously ends the Windows 9X era. Next Page: Post-millenium virus and worm attacks.