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banner Monday, 3 April, 2000, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
Microsoft to appeal

Bill Gates speaking after the ruling
Microsoft has said it intends to appeal against the ruling that it broke American anti-trust laws.

In a statement issued shortly after the ruling was delivered, the company voiced confidence that it would ultimately prevail in the case.

The Microsoft Trial

Microsoft will not be able to appeal until after Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson decides on legal remedies, a process that will take several months as he weighs proposals from the US Justice Department and the 19 states involved in the case.

Following the collapse of negotiations between Microsoft and the Department of Justice, the guilty ruling was widely expected.

Judge Jackson's preliminary findings late last year were that Microsoft abused a monopoly in PC operating systems to harm rivals.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said the company would "continue to focus on creating the next generation of innovative software that benefits consumers, the high-technology industry and the American economy".

Continue innovating

The company said the appeal would stress a 1998 US Court of Appeals decision that affirmed Microsoft's right to support the internet in the Windows operating system.

"As we look ahead to the appeals process, innovation will continue to be the number one priority at Microsoft," said Mr Gates.

"While we did everything we could to settle this case, and will continue to look for new opportunities to resolve it without further litigation, we believe we have a strong case on appeal.

"Microsoft's past success has been built on innovation and creativity, and our future success depends on our ability to keep innovating in the fastest-moving marketplace on earth."

Bill Neukom, executive vice president for law and corporate affairs at Microsoft said "it is a mistake for government regulators or the courts to try to design high-technology products".

Powering US economy

He said: "Government regulation of software product design would surely slow innovation and harm consumers.

"It's important for people to understand that today's court ruling is just one step in a legal process that could last several years."

Microsoft highlighted that in his decision, Judge Jackson had concluded that Microsoft's marketing arrangements with other companies were lawful.

Mr Gates gave a robust defence of the company's track record, saying it had helped transform the American economy and had "unleashed a wave of competition and innovation".

"This high-tech explosion also has dramatically increased business productivity and is truly the engine of the American economy, and increasingly, of the global economy," he said.

"Since this case was filed almost two years ago, the high tech industry has changed dramatically, with amazing new technologies that are building on the power of the PC to offer consumers everything from Web-phones to smart kitchen appliances, and record-breaking mergers reshaping the competitive landscape.

"This incredible pace of technological change is the clearest evidence of the competitive environment in which Microsoft and every other company must operate and continue to innovate if they are to survive and prosper," Gates concluded."

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