White House Gets Microsoft Briefing

President Clinton is not participating in the meeting, which is "a strictly informational briefing" involving representatives of the president's economic team, Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein, and other Justice Department officials, says Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.

"We felt at the remedy stage that it was appropriate for representatives of the economic team and the (White House) counsel's office to receive an informational briefing," Sperling said at Tuesday's briefing. The White House was also briefed during the liability stage of the trial, Sperling says, but has played no role in the two-year prosecution of the case.

Justice Department spokesperson Gina Talamona confirms the meeting date and Klein's participation but declines further comment.

The Justice Department must by Friday detail the remedies it believes should be imposed against Microsoft. The company was declared an illegal monopoly in PC operating systems, in a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

The government will purportedly push to break up the company into separate businesses, one responsible for Microsoft applications and the other for Windows, according to reports published Monday.

Microsoft officials say they tried hard to reach a settlement earlier in April during intense negotiations with the Justice Department and a court-appointed mediator. Microsoft executives continue to vociferously deny the company broke the law, and say they will appeal Jackson's findings.

Jackson's schedule for the remedy phase requires Microsoft to respond by May 10 to the government's remedy proposal. The government will then answer Microsoft by May 17, and a final hearing is scheduled for May 24.

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Margret Johnston

PC World

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