Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses Will Be Hurt By Microsoft Decision

Although the issues raised by Federal District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's "final order" on June 7 in United States of America v Microsoft Corp. are complex and the appeal process is likely to drag on for at least several months, some experts are already identifying the losers in the federal government's apparent antitrust win. "Entrepreneurs and small businesses will be hurt," insists Raymond J. Keating, chief economist of the 60,000-member Small Business Survival Committee, Washington. "Many small businesses are consumers of Microsoft products, and others are suppliers to the computer giant. When the government hurts Microsoft, obviously, these business are affected as well. In the end, such government regulation means higher costs and less innovation," says Keating. Meanwhile, Robert Levy, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, Washington, figures that the case has already cost Microsoft shareholders about $300 billion in market value. Looking ahead, Levy predicts that "company employees, like expendable chess pawns, will be deployed in a manner that presumably advances the government's dismemberment scheme." And, "most of all, consumers will pick up the tab as high-tech companies devote more of their resources to politicking, and less to the kinds of integrated products that, until now, have characterized the software industry," adds Levy.

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