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Gates Reacts to Appeals Court Opinion

Aired June 28, 2001 - 16:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: We're going now to Bill Gates in Redmond, Washington for his comments from the Microsoft decision.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: ...but it's clear that it reverses and significantly narrows the district court's decision. The ruling lifts the cloud of break-up over the company, reverses the time claim and says clearly that we did not attempt to monopolize the browser market.

The central issue in this case was the fundamental principle that every company must have the ability to innovate and improve its products. We're very pleased that this ruling reverses the lower court ruling and sets a much higher standard for these issues than the lower court applied. It sets a high bar for any ruling against the inclusion of new features in software products.

The legal process can be hard on anyone who goes through it. And the last four years have been challenging for all of us here at Microsoft and for me personally. But despite the many twists and turns of the case, I've always had faith in our company, in our employees, and in the magic of the software we're creating. Throughout the last 25 years, we built our business on the vision of making the PC and its benefits available to everyone everywhere.

We've also created opportunities for lots of other companies. Literally, thousands of hardware and software companies work with Microsoft using our tools and services to build their businesses. These past few years, we've done even more to partner and communicate with companies throughout the industry. We recognize that as a successful company, we have an important responsibility to the broader industry. We take that responsibility very seriously. And we will continue to work hard to provide great opportunity for our industry partners and consumers.

During this case, it was very important to us to stay focused on our product work. In fact, I believe we've done some of our best work during this time period. We built Windows 2000, the most reliable operating PC ever; we launched our dot-net strategy, making it possible of the worldnet service; we recently released Office XP, the next generation of office software; we will soon unveil Windows XP, X- box and Tablet PC, all products that bring the best of the digital world to home and work.

Today's decision is consistent with our ability to go forward with these crucial and innovative products. Today's decision overturned much of the district court's ruling, but not all of it. And naturally, we'll be reviewing the ruling in the days ahead and in determining what actions we need to take in response to these issues. Most of the licensing provisions cited by the court were discontinued years ago.

However, we will be making a review of our licensing provision in light of today's decision. We will also continue to work hard to resolve the remaining issues without the need for continued litigation.

I'm incredibly optimistic about the future. I believe that breakthrough software will continue to improve how we do business, communicate and work with information. Software will enable computers to see, listen, and learn. Taking PC technology to new levels of intelligence and ease of use. These advances are only possible because companies have the freedom to keep innovating.

I want to close by thanking the thousands of people who have expressed support for Microsoft through their letters, calls, and e- mails. That support has meant a great deal to us here. I also want to thank the employees, for their belief in the company and the amazing job that they have done during difficult circumstances. Microsoft's employees stayed focused on finding the next breakthroughs and building great products, and that's what really counts.

Thank you.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Microsoft Chairman and Founder Bill Gates, live from Redmond, Washington. He declaring at least a partial victory in the wake of the appeals court decision a little earlier in the day. The Attorney General John Ashcroft declaring victory on the part of the government. It was a mixed decision, and thus, both sides, at least in some part, declaring victory as it moves to another phase back to another judge, and at least, for now the breakup of Microsoft is not happening.

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