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MS COO defends ‘right to innovate’

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MS on Trial Microsoft COO Bob Herbold said yesterday in Philadelphia: "We have to have the right to listen to consumers and modify our products and take our chances in the marketplace. That's called the right to innovate, and that's a right that's worth fighting for." Herbold, generally reckoned to be number three in the Microsoft power structure (although Allchin could be a challenger) was being interviewed by the Philadelphia Enquirer when he was in town to talk to the Eastern Technology Council. Herbold said, referring to Judge Jackson's Findings of Fact: "We believe that this is an incredibly dynamic and fast-moving and innovative industry, and to see it portrayed in the manner it was portrayed disappointed us." It seems a trifle misleading to suggest there was a slur on the industry as a whole, rather than on Microsoft's conduct. Herbold concluded that "We are confident that we are on the side of the angels" and hoped that a settlement could be achieved. DoJ lawyers met Judge Posner this week in the same private club in Chicago, but this time without anybody from Microsoft being present. Presumably, he will meet Microsoft lawyers without the DoJ being present in due course, in order to let them know about any flexibility in the DoJ's terms, so far as a consent decree is concerned. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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