UPDATE: Gates Says Court Case Won't Affect Business

TAIPEI (06/13/2000) - Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said at a press conference here Tuesday that last week's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordering the breakup of the software giant will not have any affect on the company's business until a higher-level court decides the final outcome of the case.

The appeals process is likely to take 12 months or so, and until the final decision comes down, Microsoft will go about its business as usual, Gates said.

"Between now and then, it doesn't change anything that we are doing as a company."

"We as a company are moving full speed ahead on all the advances I have talked about today, things like speech recognition, the tablet computer and XML-based computing," Gates said, referring to his speech here earlier Tuesday at the World Congress on Information Technology. [See "WCIT2000 - Gates Touts Next-Gen Windows, Skirts Legal Issues," June 13.]"This is a case that will be decided by a higher level court," Gates said. "The right of appeal is a very standard right in the U.S., and all cases of this type are always decided at the level of a higher court."

Corel Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Cowpland, at a separate press conference earlier Tuesday, said that the key issue for his company is whether or not behavioral remedies are put in place during the appeals process.

"The appeals process will take years," Cowpland said, in response to a question about how his company's business will be affected by Microsoft's antitrust case. "If we face Windows bundled with Office, that makes it difficult for us to sell WordPerfect."

Gates, meanwhile, described the case as an "unfortunate distraction, " but said that Microsoft overall has been very lucky in the legal arena.

"So you won't hear me complaining about the overall situation," Gates said. "We had a lawsuit from Apple (Computer Inc.) that was a waste of resources and now we've got this lawsuit that I'd put in exactly that same category."

When asked about which half of Microsoft he would prefer to work for if the company is broken up, Gates said it is a "hypothetical" question that he would never have to think about.

Gates, who during the day has held a series of meetings, including one with Taiwan's newly elected President Chen Shui-bian, claimed that nobody had asked him about the antitrust case until the press conference.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080, or via the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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