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Microsoft spin doctors spin to blunt attack on Gates

After yesterday's assault, Microsoft's legal eagles claim it's all 'out of context'

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The Microspin was started yesterday by Bill Neukom, Microsoft's general counsel and former unsuccessful Democrat candidate for the job of Washington state attorney general before he joined Microsoft. As he entered the court, he said that "the relevant evidence, the admissible evidence, will show that Microsoft is a vigorous but a very fair competitor". On leaving, he observed that the excerpts from Microsoft documents were "dangerously and unreliably out of context". Spokesmen Jim Cullinan and Mark Murray were actively defending Microsoft. Murray said that the DoJ's characterisation of the Gates memo about Netscape was "a complete fabrication and distorts the facts about Microsoft's relations with Netscape". A theme common in Silicon Valley, and one encouraged by Microsoft, is that it is not the job of the government to be in the software design business; and there should be freedom from government interference in the regulation of the software business. Microsoft frequently suggests that the arguments used by the DoJ against Microsoft are "the same old tired allegations" -- and tries to create the impression that just because complaints have been made previously, they should be swept aside. A common Microsoft PR line is that Microsoft acts in the interest of consumers and technical progress. Many pressure groups are offering opinions about the trial. Citizens Against Government Waste, in conjunction with the Technology Access Action Coalition, has suggested that 83 per cent of respondents to one of its surveys thought that the pursuit of Microsoft was a waste of public funds. The groups also found that in the twenty states taking action against Microsoft, 14 attorneys general are running for re-election, whereas only nine are running in the remaining states. Anthony Martin, the self-styled "founding father of the anti-Microsoft movement" is also offering opinions. Ron Chernow, author of Titan: the life of John D Rockefeller Sr., described Gates as "the chief Titan of the late 20th century", and observed that unlike Rockefeller who had been reviled for most of his life, until recently Gates had been regarded as a hero. ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories

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