[IWAR] PROPAGANDA Microsoft blows it

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Fri Apr 10 1998 - 16:17:23 PDT

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    As the Spin Spins: Redmond's Propaganda Punch
     Wired News Report 
     10:47am 10.Apr.98.PDT
     A particularly odorous bit of Microsoftian dirty
     laundry was hung out to dry today, just as the
     finely pressed suits of Redmond, Washington,
     arrived at the doors of the Justice Department. 
     The software superpower has been covertly
     preparing a media campaign designed to look like
     a massive show of public support, in hopes of
     convincing state investigators that the Redmond
     Empire isnt such an evil one after all, the Los
     Angeles Times reported. 
     The plan calls for "articles, letters to the editor,
     and opinion pieces" to be written by
     Microsoft-commissioned spin doctors, but
     presented as glowing testimonials from local
     businesspeople who love working with the likes of
     Bill Gates, reported the paper, which said it had
     obtained a copy of the strategic proposal.
     Unidentified sources in the article said that the
     campaign is supposed to look like "an eruption of
     grass-roots support." 
     Microsoft officials first denied the story, then
     admitted to the plan, telling the Times it was an
     idea that wouldnt necessarily be acted upon. 
     News of the clandestine plan broke just a day after
     the software behemoth began placing full-page ads
     in publications like The New York Times and The
     Wall Street Journal to defend its position in an
     ongoing battle with the Justice Department. 
     The effort to get some positive press comes amid
     suggestions that the federal government is
     considering a new, broader antitrust suit against
     Microsoft, while state governments prepare their
     own charges. 
     This morning Microsoft General Counsel William
     Neukom and four other lawyers and executives
     met with Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein
     and other top antitrust officials to open a high-level
     dialogue about the companys alleged
     anti-competitive practices. However, the Microsoft
     team left the meeting without giving any indication
     of what was discussed. 
     Some Justice Department staff lawyers say they
     believe the federal government now has enough
     evidence to file charges against Microsoft. In an
     interview this week in Washington state, Microsoft
     Chief Operating Officer Bob Herbold said the
     company was in daily contact with federal antitrust
     authorities and was providing information to state
     Eleven states are preparing to file antitrust
     charges against Microsoft, sources close to the
     investigation have said. They said the states would
     accuse Microsoft of using its dominance over
     computer operating systems to extend its control
     to related areas, such as the Internet. 
     California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa,
     Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South
     Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin are involved in the
     case and others may join, a source said. 
     In October 1997, the federal government filed
     allegations that Microsoft violated a 1995 consent
     decree that was supposed to help ease the way
     for increased software competition. The Justice
     Department has argued Microsoft defied the
     decree and competed unfairly against Netscape
     Communications in the market for browsers. But
     Microsoft has asked an appellate court to throw
     out the government's charges, arguing that it was
     exercising a right under the decree to integrate a
     Web browser into its operating system. 
     The expedited appeal will be argued before a
     three-judge panel of the United States Court of
     Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on 21
     Reuters contributed to this report.

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