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But is it really business as usual?
Long-suffering software vendors that had hoped that the Federal Trade Commission would save them from the Microsoft juggernaut will have to look elsewhere for salvation. On July 15, the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil suit charging that the company used unfair contracts that choked off competition and preserved its monopoly position. At the same time, Microsoft signed a consent decree that, if approved by the court, will settle the suit.
In the decree Microsoft agrees to change some of its practices in licensing its operating systems to hardware vendors. In return, Justice and the European Commission have agreed not to go to court.
The consent decree, expected to pass the final judge's ruling in September, will remain in effect for 6 1/2 years. No financial penalties were assessed. It is up to Microsoft competitors to file suit seeking damages. The …