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Microsoft Deal Eases Concerns

Microsoft sees recent settlement as positive step forward.

Now that Microsoft has settled its antitrust case with the Justice Department (DOJ) and nine of the 18 states that filed suit against the Redmond, WA-based software giant, concerns that some insurance customers may have had about the impact of the antitrust cases should be relieved, according to Kevin Kelly, worldwide insurance industry manager, Microsoft.

"The DOJ trial caused many customers, over the past several years, to have concerns over the impact that the trial and eventual outcome might have on us as a provider of technology and services," says Kelly. "The settlement removes concerns over the stabilization of the business and operational concerns of Microsoft." At press time, however, Microsoft had yet to settle with nine states that filed suit.

During the trial, Microsoft shared many of the same concerns of these customers regarding the implications of some of the measures being discussed, according to Kelly. "Some of the earlier findings e.g., the break-up of Microsoft, which we appealed, would obviously make it very challenging to deliver on those promises" Microsoft had made to its customers, he concedes. "Nevertheless, we stressed our dedication to doing what was right and serving customers, whatever the outcome."

According to Chuck Johnston, vice president and director of insurance information strategies, META Group (Stamford, CT), the impact felt from the settlement by the insurance industry as a whole will be no greater than for other industries. If anything, Johnston says, it will be impacted less because core systems in insurance are less Microsoft-centric, "as a rule."

Although Microsoft may yet be subject to harsher sanctions, according to Kelly, "the recent settlement with the DOJ and the addition of nine of the 18 states party to the lawsuit is bringing these issues closer to conclusion."

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