Gates, Ballmer Blast DOJ's Remedies

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (04/28/2000) - Excessive. Radical. Arbitrary. Drastic.


Those were some of the adjectives that Microsoft Corp.'s top executives used this afternoon to describe the remedies proposed today by the U.S. Department of Justice to punish the company for violating antitrust laws.

"These remedies are very disturbing, not just for Microsoft but for consumers and the entire high-technology economy," said Bill Gates, Microsoft's chief software architect and chairman, during a teleconference to comment on the remedies.

Steve Ballmer, the company's president and chief executive officer, called the remedies "draconian regulations," while Bill Neukom, the company's executive vice president for law and corporate affairs, termed the remedies "a regulatory death sentence."

The remedies, which include splitting Microsoft into two companies, are extreme and beyond the scope of the court's verdict, the executives reiterated once and again.

"This case is about browsers, not spreadsheets and word processors," Neukom said, adding that the government is trying to punish Microsoft for issues that weren't part of the case.

"The (DOJ's) demands are out of proportion to case the case itself," Neukom said. "The remedies aren't supported by the evidence."

The DOJ's "excessive" remedies show that the industry has moved well beyond the central issue in the government's lawsuit, Neukom added.

Microsoft plans to file a reaction to the DOJ's proposed remedies by the May 10 deadline imposed by the court, Neukom said.

On appeal, Microsoft stands to win hands down, the executives said.

If Microsoft were to be split up, customers, partners, shareholders and the U.S. economy would suffer, because Microsoft would be unable to remain competitive, create good products and provide support to users, they said.

"These remedies are really out of bounds and out of touch with what's going on in our industry," Gates said.

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