Microsoft unlikely to appeal decision

Microsoft Corp. does not expect to appeal a ruling handed down Friday by a U.S. judge in its antitrust case, according to the company's top executive.

"At this point, we are still reviewing what has come out in today's ruling," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft, during a news conference. "At this point, we are not seeing anything would be cause for appeal, but we need to make a full assessment."

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued her opinion earlier in the day, approving most of the provisions of a settlement deal between Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). She turned down tougher penalties sought by nine states that had rejected the terms of the settlement.

California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia fought the settlement.

Under Kollar-Kotelly's ruling, Microsoft must create uniform licensing terms for computer makers that choose to install Windows on their PCs. The computer makers will also be allowed to remove icons for Microsoft software from the systems they ship. Microsoft also cannot use its influence to impede rivals from promoting their own software on PCs. Microsoft additionally will need to provide more details on its software interfaces to application developers.

"It's good compromise, a good settlement," Gates said. "These are requirements that we will be able to adhere to."

Microsoft was already convicted as a monopolist in an earlier decision and has since made moves to open up its business practices. The company has altered some of its distribution methods and licensing schemes to meet the terms of its settlement agreement with the DOJ.

"We made it simpler for computer manufacturers to replace Microsoft software with programs of their choice on the desktop," Gates said. "We made our licenses more uniform."

In addition, the company has appointed an internal compliance officer to monitor Microsoft and its employees.

"I want to be clear that we have heard both those who have supported us and those who have criticized us," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft, during the news conference. "Compliance is both a corporate commitment and a personal responsibility for all our employees."

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Ashlee Vance

PC World

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