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Gates: Microsoft Deal to Help Techs

November 2, 2001

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SEATTLE (AP) _ The proposed settlement of the federal antitrust case against Microsoft goes further than the company wanted, but the deal will help the technology industry, Chairman Bill Gates said Friday.

``The settlement will help strengthen our economy during this difficult time and ensure that our industry can continue delivering innovations to the marketplace,″ Gates said in a statement, his first remarks about the deal.

``We recognize that the success of our products has created concerns. This settlement addresses those concerns in a fair and reasonable manner while still enabling Microsoft to continue innovating to push technology forward.″

The deal would require Microsoft to give independent monitors full access to its books and plans for five years to ensure compliance and to provide information to help rivals make products compatible with its dominant Windows operating software.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., said she would review the agreement between the Justice Department and Microsoft. She also gave states involved in separate antitrust cases until Tuesday to decide if they would accept the plan.

That could create nuisances for the software giant, even if it doesn’t hurt its profits, analysts said.

``It would be incredibly messy for Microsoft but wouldn’t have any near-term impact,″ said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Systems.

Enderle cautioned that it was still too early to say how Microsoft might be hampered by any agreement with the government.

Still, analysts said the company is in a much better position than it was a year ago, when it faced a court-ordered breakup for federal antitrust violations.

Shares of Microsoft were trading down 60 cents to $61.24 in early trading Friday after rising 6.4 percent on Thursday.

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On the Net:

Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com

Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov

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