For 100 years in this country, the 1890 Sherman Act was known as the tool that President Theodore Roosevelt used to attack John D. Rockefeller. The complaint the Unites States Justice Department pursued for 10 years against Standard Oil Trust was finally settled in 1911 before the Supreme Court, when Standard Oil Trust, which controlled 92% of the oil and gas business in this country, was broken up into seven pieces.

It was not until 1999, when President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno went after Bill Gates and Microsoft that the Sherman Act was back in the headlines (see Case 24-5 in your text). Using this antitrust legislation, Clinton and Reno succeeded in getting a federal district court decision to fine Microsoft $5 billion, and ordered it broken up into four separate companies. Microsoft appealed to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and politics hit home. Bill Clinton and Janet Reno headed for retirement, and President George W. Bush and Attorney General (former Senator) John Ashcroft took over the Justice Department. Within 5 months of taking office, in May, 2001, Bush and Ashcroft settled the deal with damages reduced to $300 million and no Microsoft breakup.

Is this just too political to be allowed? Review the 1890 Sherman Act and the Microsoft Case in your text. Under the guidance of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, what would you have done as Attorney General of the United States?

Please answer the above questions and let me know what you think about the Government's involvement in these kind of situations.