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Microsoft shows that Crime does pay.

  • Subject: Microsoft shows that Crime does pay.
  • From: Rex Ballard <rex.ballard@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 20:49:39 -0800 (PST)
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We have a few examples of Microsoft litigation history.

I think MS obligation to its shareholders to maximise profits, does
seem to make them cross the line quite frequently. Because of the slow
legal process it seems that it's more profitable to do so.
A lot of these were however settled out of court, so technically, in a
lot of them MS was not proven to have crossed the line, it does show a
certain pattern though, some examples for googling "Microsoft

- 1982 Microsoft vs Seattle Computer Products, settled out of court.
- 1982 Microsoft vs Digital Research, DR won.
- 1985 Microsoft vs Apple, settled by Apple leasing MS access to the
MacOS code.
- 1988-1998 Microsoft vs Apple, settled out of court, MS buys $150 mil
Apple stock
- 1989 Microsoft vs DEC, settled out of court, MS paid $150 mil
- 1994 Microsoft vs Stac Electronics, MS lost, paid $84 mil
- 1996 Microsoft vs Novell/Caldera, settled out of court, MS paid $200
- 1998-2002 Microsoft vs DOJ&20 states, MS lost,
         MS ordered to split up overturned in appeal.
- 2003 Microsoft vs Time-warner, settled out of court, MS pays $750
- 2004 Microsoft vs EU, MS fined $613 mil
- 2004 Microsoft vs Sun, settled out of court, MS pays $700 mil

Lists a few more

History of Microsoft vs Microsoft the United States - this only goes
back to 1991
There were previous investigations going back as far as 1987, maybe

Even more

Settlements with a few states

Unfortunately I no longer have access to Westlaw
That lists several dozen more.

This is a nice list of cases and settlements covered by C/NET

Interesting history of competing OS's and how Microsoft "Won" against

Keep in mind that even though Microsoft has paid an average of about
$2 billion per year in legal fees and settlements each year, they
still rake in $60 billion in cash, mainly due to an iron fisted
control of the entire distribution from OEM to Retailer to Corporate
CIO and buyer.

Gross profit is $48 billion - almost 78% margin, while most of their
customers are struggling to make gross margins of 20%.  Many OEMs are
actually LOSING money on their PC operations, which is why Gateway
went bankrupt and IBM sold off their PC division to Lenovo.

EBITDA (Earnings Before Intrest Taxes, Debts, and Adjustments was
almost $29 billion - 45%.

Even GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) or "bottom line"
profit was over $17 billion - over 27% of BOTTOM LINE profit.

Other industries that make similar profits and margins:
     Drug dealers - though the short term gains are offset by years in
     Prostitution - again - quick gains are short term.
     Organized crime - longer term.

But Microsoft has shown that by offering quick settlements before key
players are sent to jail, and getting immunity as part of the
settlement, that crime, including the costs of the settlements, can be
very profitable.

It also helps when you have friends in high places
  Bush Speaks on Microsoft Settlement

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