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An MS-friendly president? Candidate Bush blinks

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Republican presidential candidate George W Bush has become the first to blink, as far as the Microsoft case is concerned. Campaigning in Microsoft's Washington home state this week, Bush delivered a heavy hint that as president, he'd come down on Microsoft's side. Bush said he thought it was important, "when there is innovation taking place, to understand the consequences of litigation." He went on to express his worries about the consequences for growth if Microsoft were to be broken up, and said that as president he would be "slow to litigate." While this is not exactly a matter of Bush standing up, backing Microsoft to the hilt and vowing to throttle all government action against the company, it's pretty clear he's tilting in that direction. By the time he gets into the Oval Office, if that's what happens, it could turn out to be too late for him to be able to do much to help Microsoft (and it's by no means a simple matter of the president being able to pull the plugs on his own, anyway), but he's definitely presenting himself as the Microsoft-friendly candidate. Washington senator Slade Gorton, who is also prominent in Bush's Washington campaign, is a dogged defender of Microsoft, and intepreted Bush's remarks as meaning he wouldn't have brought the action in the first place. Not, of course, that the DoJ action was brought on the personal command of William Jefferson Clinton, but you know what he means. If Bush makes it to the candidacy, his stance may help him against Al Gore (if of course, he makes it). Gore negotiated a tricky visit to the Microsoft campus a while back, but if Microsoft becomes an issue in the final campaign, he's pretty much stuck with backing the government, given that he'[s part of it. ®

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