What the government wants, mostly in its own words, explained parenthetically in ours:

Split Microsoft into two entities, one would own the operating system business, including the Windows operating system. The other entity would own the remainder of Microsoft's assets, including the Office software package, the Web browser Internet Explorer and the cable television station MSNBC.

Microsoft can not force consumers to take a Microsoft product when they would prefer a competitor's. (Central to the government's case was the argument that Microsoft unnaturally tied Internet Explorer, its Web browser, into Windows in an effort to illegally stifle Netscape's Communicator browser.)

Microsoft must disclose information to competing software developers that will allow these companies to design their products so that they will operate better with Windows. (Microsoft does not make public the source code to Windows, showing parts of the proprietary code to companies designing software intended to work with Windows. The government contended this practice was used to unfairly extend the Windows monopoly to other applications.)

Microsoft can no longer favor computer companies and software developers who are willing to play ball with Microsoft by helping the software company to exclude competitors. (This provision and the following one relate to the company's pricing structures and to sharing the source codes. The judge found in favor of the government that the company had given away some software products for free to create a bar to entry in some certain other software markets.)

Microsoft can no longer punish computer companies that want to sell products that compete with the Redmond, Wash.-based company. (The government accused Microsoft of refusing to disclose source code and charging higher prices to certain hardware makers.)

The proposed decree would terminate after 10 years, but the court would be permitted to make modifications during that time.