For 100 years in this country, the 1890 Sherman Act was known as thetool that President Theodore Roosevelt used to attack John D.Rockefeller. The complaint the Unites States Justice Department pursuedfor 10 years against Standard Oil Trust was finally settled in 1911before the Supreme Court, when Standard Oil Trust, which controlled 92%of the oil and gas business in this country, was broken up into sevenpieces.It was not until 1999, when President Bill Clinton and Attorney GeneralJanet Reno went after Bill Gates and Microsoft that the Sherman Act wasback in the headlines (see Case 24-5 in your text). Using this antitrustlegislation, Clinton and Reno succeeded in getting a federal districtcourt decision to fine Microsoft $5 billion, and ordered it broken upinto four separate companies. Microsoft appealed to the Federal CircuitCourt of Appeals, and politics hit home. Bill Clinton and Janet Renoheaded for retirement, and President George W. Bush and Attorney General(former Senator) John Ashcroft took over the Justice Department. Within5 months of taking office, in May, 2001, Bush and Ashcroft settled thedeal with damages reduced to $300 million and no Microsoft breakup.Is this just too political to be allowed? Review the 1890 Sherman Actand the Microsoft Case in your text. Under the guidance of the 1890Sherman Antitrust Act, what would you have done as Attorney General ofthe United States?
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