Ellison: Government should bust up Microsoft

 
 
By Mark Hammond  |  Posted 1999-11-17
 
 
 

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. government faces a dilemma of hurting Main Street if it breaks up Microsoft Corp., Larry Ellison says.

Such punitive action is bound to depress Microsofts stock price to the detriment of thousands of middle-income investors, maintains Oracle Corp.s chairman and CEO.

"Its a fascinating dilemma for the government," Ellison told reporters following a keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld here Tuesday afternoon. "There are a lot of regular John Q. Publics out there who own Microsoft. Theyre hostages standing between [Microsoft] and the government."

Nevertheless, Ellison said he believes the government should break Microsoft into three companies in response to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jacksons finding of fact that declared Microsoft a monopoly.

And those three companies should each have rights to Microsoft operating systems and software, to compete among themselves for market share, Ellison said.

As for Microsofts workforce, Ellison proposed that programmers be selected by the three companies in a draft, as college basketball players are selected by professional teams.

A lament for Netscape

Ellison also said he was concerned by recent reports that Microsofts Internet Explorer browser has opened a wide lead over Netscape Communication Corp.s Communicator in corporate deployments, and by continued Communicator upgrade delays.

Ellison blamed Microsoft for "destroying" Netscape, now a subsidiary of America Online Inc.

"[Microsoft Chairman] Bill Gates said he was going to put Netscape out of business, and he did," Ellison said.

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