Microsoft and the market

A couple days ago, a final decree was issued in the interminable Microsoft anti-trust suit. Microsoft got off with a slap on the wrist. Unsurprisingly, this boosted Microsoft’s stock. More surprisingly, the market rallied overall.

Microsoft lifted many other technology stocks with it today, including Cisco Systems, I.B.M., Intel and Dell Computer.

This baffles me. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, with predatory business policies. Investors appear to be operating under the principle that “what’s good for Microsoft is good for the market.” The opposite is the case. Although one company’s success need not be at the expense of another’s in general, Microsoft operates according to Gore Vidal’s maxim: “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”