Table: Where Do We Go from Here?
A recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling makes a breakup unlikely. Still, the court found that Microsoft violated the law by using its market power to maintain a monopoly in operating systems. Here's what can be done to ensure that Microsoft doesn't abuse that power again:
GET TOUGH ON BUNDLING
While the company should have the right to add features that help other programs work better, it shouldn't include things merely to drive consumers to its other businesses.
GIVE PC MAKERS MORE POWER
PC makers could be given greater latitude on what software they can use. This would make consumer demand, rather than Microsoft's market power, the deciding factor in what is offered. Microsoft (MSFT ) could also be barred from pressuring them not to use rivals' software.
REQUIRE MORE DISCLOSURE
Microsoft could be required to publish technical data on how to make other software work well with Windows. That would help competitors develop compatible products and protect the ability of rivals to innovate.
REVISIT THE PROBLEM
If these remedies are found wanting or prove to be too onerous, they could be revised down the road. This could involve anything from simple fine-tuning to reconsidering the possibility of a breakup.