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This Day In Market History: Judge Orders Breakup Of Microsoft

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This Day In Market History: Judge Orders Breakup Of Microsoft

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 19 years ago, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) was a monopoly and must be broken up into two companies.

Where The Market Was

The Dow closed at 10,812.86. The S&P 500 traded at around 1,471.36. Today, the Dow is trading at 25,720 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,843.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 2000, America Online and Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX) completed their infamous mega-merger. Tiger Woods became the youngest person ever to win a PGA grand slam tournament. The average American earned $40,343 per year.

Microsoft Monopoly

By 2000, Microsoft had been battling antitrust charges from the Department of Justice for the better part of a decade. In May 1998, the DoJ joined 20 state attorneys in officially charging Microsoft with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by using its power to stifle internet competition. After eight months of testimony, Judge Jackson ruled on November 5, 1999 that Microsoft had, in fact, harmed consumers and competitors with its monopoly.

On June 7, 2000 Jackson ordered Microsoft to split into two companies. In the months prior to the Microsoft ruling, the U.S. stock market had given up roughly a third of its value. However, on the day the breakup was ordered, the NASDAQ experienced a 2.2 percent relief rally.

A little over a year later, on June 28, 2001, a federal appeals court reversed the Microsoft breakup order.

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