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Microsoft's Settlements--Not the End?

Although some have hailed the settlements as the end of Microsoft's legal battles, we predict more to come. Microsoft is so large and aggressive, it's likely to continue to sue and be sued. The battle is really about IT supplier choice, which the settlements didn't resolve.

Microsoft remains a proprietary juggernaut, cranking out products that encourage customers to stay within the box canyon of Windows, .Net and its other wares. It's doubtful that Microsoft will change its behavior simply because it was forced to pay a few penalties. In fact, by some estimates, Microsoft could pay the $600 million EU fine 80 times before it runs out of cash reserves.

For most IT departments, then, the legal battles are almost a nonevent; they won't change the way Microsoft operates. Only IT managers who insist on product interoperability and adherence to open standards are likely to do that. It's about customers, not courts.

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