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September 07, 2001 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-07

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 7, 2001

NATION/WORLD

Feds drop Microsoft breakup plan

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a dramatic shift, the
Bush administration yesterday abandoned the Clin-
ton-era effort to break up Microsoft. It suggested a
lesser antitrust penalty that could still force changes
to the company's new Windows operating system.
The Justice Department also dropped charges
that the software giant illegally hurt competitors
by tying or bundling separate features, like a Web
browser, to its flagship computer operating sys-
tem.
Microsoft had hotly contested those charges
because the company's strategy calls for integrat-
ing more new features into products like the new
Windows XP operating system, due in stores next
month.
Officials said the legal shift was not an over-
ture to Microsoft to settle. They suggested the
government will ask the new judge handling the
antitrust case to review the Windows XP software

and seek a penalty that ensures the company
doesn't operate as an illegal monopoly in the
future.
But the news that reverberated from Wall Street to
Silicon Valley was the decision to stop trying to break
up an American corporate icon that helped fuel the
technology revolution of the 1990s.
The 19 states that joined the government in
suing Microsoft and seeking its breakup acqui-
esced, saying an appeals court decision earlier
this summer would make a breakup more difficult
to pursue.
"This is an industry that moves incredibly fast,"
said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. "The
case has gone on for quite some time now. It was
time to move as quickly as we could to remedy."
Microsoft reacted with cautious optimism. "We
remain committed to resolving the remaining
issues in the case," spokesman Vivek Varma said.

Investors, however, showed some concern that
the penalties the Bush administration will seek
might still affect or delay next month's planned
debut of Windows XP - which many on Wall
Street hope will help invigorate the sluggish tech-
nology industry.
Microsoft shares finished the day down $1.72
at $56.02 per share.
Justice said it made the about-face to stream-
line the case and bring it to an end as quickly as
possible. The goal, it said, was to "obtain prompt,
effective and certain relief for consumers."
The department said it would still seek a penal-
ty that would open the operating system market to
competition.
To that end, the government proposed a penalty
similar to some interim penalties imposed by the
original trial judge, U.S. District Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson.

NEWS IN BRIEF
WASHINGTON
Fox lobbies for iumgration reform
Mexican President Vicente Fox pressed his case for swift immigration over-
haul to Congress yesterday. But President Bush called proposals to grant legal
status to Mexicans now in the country illegally "an incredibly complex issue."
Bush suggested it was unlikely that Congress would be able to come up with a
plan within a year but said he fully understands Fox's desire to expedite the
process.
"We have heard his call;' said Bush, flanked by Fox at a joint news confer-
ence.
On Wednesday, Fox, in a surprise move, urged that the two governments reach
an agreement by the year's end but Congress, which has the final say, is deeply
divided on the issue.
Bush said that a major obstacle was devising a system that would allow many
of the up to 3 million Mexicans now in the United States illegally to gain legal
status - without penalizing those who have already applied for such status
though existing channels.
Earlier, Fox addressed a packed joint session of the House and Senate, urging
greater trust between the neighboring countries as the basis for "a new partner-
ship in North America."
WASHINGTON
Campaign finance reform gains support
Advocates of campaign finance reform inched closer to forcing a vote on their
legislation in the House this fall, picking up the support yesterday of a key
Democrat who had not signed a petition to bring the measure to the floor.
Reform backers said the signature of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) leaves
them just 11 shy of the 218 needed to override House Republican leaders and
compel a vote on a bill that seeks to reduce the influence of big money in poli-
tics.
The petition drive is crucial to reviving a bill that cleared the Senate in April
and was supposed to face a decisive vote in the House two months ago. But the
measure was yanked at the last minute amid intense partisan fighting over the
rules of debate.
The bill's sponsors yesterday vowed to step up pressure on House members
who previously voted for reform but have so far not signed onto the petition.
They said they would conduct a series of town hall meetings - including one in
Memphis, Tenn., today and others in Chicago and Philadelphia in the coming
weeks - to drum up support.

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WASHINGTON
U.S. normalizes
Vietnamese trade
More than a quarter-century after the
end of the Vietnam War, the House
voted yesterday to normalize trade rela-
tions with Hanoi, but only after approv-
ing separate legislation denouncing the
country's Communist regime for ethnic,
religious and political repression.
The bills, approved in back-to-back
votes, allowed lawmakers to express dis-
gust with the Hanoi government while
still approving a trade agreement
designed to open the Vietnamese mar-
ket to U.S. products and permit Viet-
namese goods to enter the United States
with the same low tariffs that apply to
most other countries.
In a letter to the House Ways and
Means Committee, read on the floor by
the panel's chairman, Rep. William M.
Thomas (R-Calif.), the Bush adminis-
tration said the trade bill "completes a
normalization process that has
spanned four administrations."
DURBAN, South Africa
Racism conference
centers on Mideast
Arab states at a U.N. racism confer-
ence rejected a second attempt at com-
promise yesterday on wording on the
Middle East conflict. However, South
African officials said they were shut-
tling between the Arab and European
delegates, trying to work out a new
compromise.
Efforts to reach agreement over
another contentious issue, a proposed

Western apology for slavery and colo-
nialism, remained bogged down a day
before the eight-day conference was
scheduled to end.
The proposed Mideast compro-
mise, the second South African pro-
posal rejected by the Arab states,
sought to bridge the gap between the
Arabs' call for the conference to
condemn Israeli practices as racist
and the European Union's refusal to
allow the conference to take sides in
the conflict.
PARIS
Force in Macedonia
may be necessary
European diplomats and military
planners have concluded that some
kind of foreign troop presence in
Macedonia will probably be needed
after the NATO disarmament mission
there ends late this month. Otherwise,
they fear, the Balkan country's shaky
peace deal could unravel and the coun-
try could again be plunged into civil
strife.
Officially, NATO is still committed
to ending its operation based on a
strict 30-day deadline, once weapons
have been collected from ethnic
Albanian insurgents and Macedonia's
parliament approves a new power-
sharing accord.
But in European capitals, the ques-
tion has largely moved on from
whether there will be a post-NATO
presence to what kind, under what flag,
for what duration, and with what man-
date.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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