The Justice Department announced today that it will not seek a breakup of Microsoft into separate operating systems and applications businesses. Instead, the government will focus on “conduct-related” provisions. Presumably this helps the sides inch towards a settlement, although the Justice Dept. rattled its saber a bit by stating it intends to ask the court to “investigate developments in the industry since the trial concluded.” My guess is that Windows XP won’t be the real target. Lots of folks are concerned that Microsoft is getting a running start on setting up an infrastructure for convenient Web transactions. As near as I can tell, the theory is that since Microsoft has been very successful in one area, it must be prevented from being successful in a different area.

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