After ten years of government control, a US District Court judge decided that Microsoft is no longer a threat to the technology sector and can be rehabilitated into the real world.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said Vole had "placed an oppressive thumb on the scale of competitive fortune" and ruled that the outfit had to be split up,
Jackson's break-up order didn't survive appeal, but Microsoft was saddled with a set of rules to keep it from punishing equipment makers who sold rival products. It also had to give code details to rivals so that they could make software which worked with Windows.
However, the US Department of Justice supervision ends today and Vole is now as free as a bird.
While it is a amusing to think of the mighty Vole humbled before the force of US Justice, the feeling in the IT industry is that the punishments did not do much.
Vinton Cerf, Google's chief internet evangelist, said the regulation did very little to harm Microsoft.
At the time of the antitrust case, the competitive threats from Google-like companies, cloud computing, and smartphones were not even dreamed up.
Microsoft had a huge market share in desktop operating systems and productivity apps, and it controlled the world wide web with Internet Exploder. If the court had known what was going to happen, chances are it would have not needed to be as hard on Microsoft as it was.