Microsoft: A 'small', misunderstood company

"For the past 25 years we've been thinking of ourselves as a small, aggressive company playing catch-up with industry giants, even though somewhere along the way we became a large company," Steve Ballmer, Microsoft president and CEO, said in a press conference this morning.

"Our intense focus in moving forward has at times been seen as threatening and our passion for being the best has been misinterpreted."

Microsoft remains confident "in everything we have done and how we have behaved", he said.

Echoing founder Bill Gates' sentiments, Ballmer said that while Jackson's ruling was a setback for the company, Microsoft's plans and future are still on track. "We feel very good about (our) legal standing and the benefits we've created for customers.

"Today's ruling will not cause us to slow our effort . . . (it) does not change the challenges and opportunities before us."

The threat of more class actions suits -- the company is already facing a number of federal and state cases -- does not rattle the company either. "The class action law suits will not distract us at all from the appeal. We think they're misguided," Ballmer said.

"(We are) optimistic about . . . the class actions. They are not really the same issue. From the point of view of the consumer, there is some help from the ruling, but it does not particularly correlate," he said.

Ballmer also suggested the speculation that Microsoft will be split into separate companies does not pose a suitable resolution to the case. "We think any speculation on that kind of Draconian remedy is misplaced in general and misplaced with these conclusions of law; customers can rest easy," he said. "The conclusions of law do not jump out to us as the sort of stuff that would support structural relief."

He said Microsoft would be "glad" to continue settlement discussions if a resolution was expected. "During the settlement process, we put our heart, soul and time to offer up everything that addressed the case . . . It (is) really important for us to get the case settled."

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Luisa Bustos

PC World

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