An influential report has urged the US government to consider splitting up Microsoft in the event of a win by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
Although US reports conflicted as to how far the leaked Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) report went in advising a structural remedy, the group recommended that some form of divestiture should be considered if the software giant loses its anti-trust trial.
The report comes as the Microsoft trial barely had time to settle into its six-week recess.
Options in the SIIA report - which is considered to be one of the most influential software advisory groups in the US - include splitting Microsoft into units by product, such as operating system, software applications and e-commerce.
Another proposition would be to break the software vendor into several smaller versions of itself, which would then compete with each other.
Although the report falls short of actually recommending any of the options it presents, the SIIA is generally regarded by observers as being supportive of the DoJ's case, even though Microsoft itself holds a position among its 1,400 member companies.
In response to the SIIA report, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) - one of Microsoft's strongest allies in the anti-trust case - issued the results of a survey of 408 technology executives. It showed that 63 per cent of those questioned were in favour of keeping Microsoft unaltered should the trial judge rule against the company.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced that it will revamp its e-commerce strategy to better serve the needs of small businesses on the internet.
The software vendor will focus on serving businesses in three ways - through products such as Windows 2000 and Site Server Ecommerce Edition, now renamed Ecommerce Server.
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