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This Day In Market History: Judge Rules Microsoft A Monopoly

This Day In Market History: Judge Rules Microsoft A Monopoly
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 18 years ago, a federal judge ruled that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) violated federal antitrust laws.

Where The Market Was

The Dow finished the day at 11,221.93. The S&P 500 finished at 1,505.97. Today, the Dow is trading at 23,702.86 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,588.41.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 2000, AOL and Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE: TWX) combined in one of the largest corporate mergers in history. Tiger Woods became the youngest player in PGA history to win a Grand Slam tournament. The average price of a new car was $24,750.

Microsoft’s Competition Problem

On April 3, 2000, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Microsoft had violated antitrust law via predatory behavior that kept “an oppressive thumb on the scale of competitive fortune.”

The Justice Department had argued that Microsoft was damaging U.S. consumers with its monopoly on the U.S. software business, particularly when it came to tying the company’s Windows operating system to its Netscape web browser.

“The court concludes that Microsoft maintained its monopoly power by anticompetitive means and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market,” Jackson wrote.

Microsoft stock plummeted 14.5 percent on the day of the ruling, giving up $80 billion in market value and dragging the Nasdaq down 7.6 percent on the day.

When the dot-come bubble burst in 2000, Microsoft’s share price lost roughly two-thirds of its value from peak to trough in just over a year.

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