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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 18:26 GMT
Gates satisfied with 'fair' settlement
Bill Gates
Mr Gates denied Microsoft had been let off lightly
Microsoft founder Bill Gates called Friday's anti-trust settlement with the US Department of Justice a "fair compromise on all sides".

We have said for some time we would go the extra mile to resolve this case and that's exactly what we have done

Bill Gates
"It's the right way forward," Mr Gates told a news conference.

"Litigation is never a good thing for any industry or any company."

He said Microsoft would do everything in its power to make the settlement a success.

But he stopped short of admitting that Microsoft had acted illegally by abusing its monopoly position in the software market.

Instead, Mr Gates acknowledged that "with the success of our products there comes a set of competition concerns."

And the key, in reaching a settlement with the government, was to "address these concerns and address them fully."

Mr Gates also denied that the settlement gave Microsoft an easy ride, saying that the terms of Friday's deal actually went beyond those suggested by the court of appeal.

'Extra mile'

Mr Gates said Microsoft had wanted to settle out of court for some time.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, AP
Gates: 'case had profound personal impact'
"We have said for some time we would go the extra mile to resolve this case and that's exactly what we have done."

He said he hoped the individual states which still had objections to the settlement would sign up to it in due course.

But although the agreement contained "significant rules and restrictions" affecting the way Microsoft does business, it would still allow the company to "keep innovating on behalf of the consumer," Mr Gates added.

He stressed that Microsoft would comply "properly and fully" with the terms of the settlement.

'Profound personal impact'

Mr Gates also said that the three-year anti-trust process had been "difficult" and had had a "profound impact on me personally and on our company."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer: EU may have concerns
He described the legal process as a "learning" experience which had forced him to examine Microsoft's behaviour.

"We will focus (in future) more on how our actions affect other companies," Mr Gates said.

"We resolve ourselves to becoming an even better industry leader."

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said that Judge Kollar-Kotelly had urged rapid action to bring the case to a conclusion.

But the events of 11 September had not been a factor in speeding up the process.

EC investigation

Mr Ballmer said a separate action by the European Commission, which is investigating possible market abuses by Microsoft, would not be affected by Friday's settlement.

"The Commission has its own issues that it is taking a look at.

"I suspect the EC will take a look at this settlement", he said, but added that Microsoft was engaged in a separate process with the EC.

He said he did not know when the Commission process would reach its conclusion.

The BBC's Kevin Anderson
"This removes a great deal of uncertainty for Microsoft"
The BBC's John Moylan
"There was definitely a feeling from the new US administration that it was time to move on"
US Attorney General John Ashcroft
"A competitive software industry is vital to our economy"
See also:

02 Nov 01 | Business
Microsoft reaches anti-trust deal
02 Nov 01 | Business
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24 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Microsoft's XP extends reach
06 Sep 01 | Business
U-turn on Microsoft break-up
13 Jul 01 | Business
US seeks quick end to Microsoft case
18 Oct 01 | Business
Microsoft beats expectations
19 Jul 01 | Business
Microsoft asks for court review
13 Jul 01 | Business
New Mexico breaks ranks on Microsoft
12 Jul 01 | Business
Microsoft in Windows climbdown
25 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Windows XP hits the streets
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