By 5-1 Margin, Americans Oppose Lawsuit Blocking Release of Windows 98

By 5-1 Margin, Americans Oppose Lawsuit Blocking Release of Windows 98

Pollsters Hart and Teeter say Americans want competition in computer industry to be driven by consumers and marketplace, not the government

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 6, 1998 — By more than a 5-to-1 margin, Americans oppose the idea of state Attorneys General bringing a lawsuit to block the release of Windows 98, according to a public opinion survey conducted by nationally recognized pollsters Peter D. Hart and Robert M. Teeter.

By a similar 5-to-1 margin, Americans believe the best way to ensure competition in the computer industry is to let consumers and the market decide, rather than by Attorneys General trying to impede the release of Windows 98, according to the survey.

The survey of 1,002 adults nationwide was conducted April 29-30 and had a margin of error of 3.2 percent. It was commissioned by Microsoft. Hart, a Democrat, and Teeter, a Republican, are best known as the bipartisan pairing that conducts polls for The Wall Street Journal and NBC News.

Peter Hart and Tom Riehle of Hart-Teeter Research will be holding a conference call with reporters to discuss the results of this survey at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 6. To participate in this call, please call 1-888-286-6986. Please ask for the Microsoft call.

According to the survey, Americans believe — by a margin of 68 percent to 13 percent — that it’s a bad use of taxpayer dollars for Attorneys General to bring a lawsuit that blocks Microsoft from releasing Windows 98.

They are equally convinced — 68 percent to 13 percent — that state Attorneys General should not try to force Microsoft to remove Internet capabilities from Windows 98.

“Americans see a role for government regulation-in food, drugs, securities, financial markets, consumer protection, and many other areas,”
said Hart.
“In the minds of most Americans, however, blocking the release of Windows 98 falls far outside the area of appropriate government regulation. Indeed, when we asked which of two statements comes closer to their opinion, only 14 percent said their state’s Attorney General should block release of Windows 98 in order to maintain competition in the industry, while 77 percent said the best way to ensure competition in this industry is to let consumers and the market decide — without government intervention.”

According to Teeter:
“Americans just do not see a need for this dramatic action against a product poised for release. Four out of five Americans credit Microsoft with helping the economy, and three in four credit the company with benefiting consumers. That’s why only 13 percent think a lawsuit blocking the release of Windows 98 is a good use of taxpayer dollars.”

In other findings, 79 percent of Americans believe Microsoft is contributing to the nation’s economic growth, and an even higher number, 87 percent, believe Microsoft’s success has helped stimulate the growth of the computer industry in the U.S.

Among the questions asked in the survey were the following:

Do you think that your attorney general should bring a lawsuit that blocks Microsoft from releasing Windows 98 in your state, or should they not bring such a suit?

Should bring suit12%

Should not bring suit64%

Not Sure24%

Do you think that it is a good use or bad use of tax dollars for your attorney general to bring a lawsuit that blocks Microsoft from releasing Windows 98 in your state.

Good use13%

Bad use68%

Neither 3%

Not sure16%

Which of the following statements comes closer to your opinion on this issue:

Statement A: The attorney general in your state should block the release of Windows 98 in order to maintain competition in the industry.

Statement B: The best way to ensure competition in the industry is to let consumers and the market decide without government intervention.

Statement A14%

Statement B77%

Not sure 9%

Should your attorney general bring a suit to try to force Microsoft to remove the Internet capabilities from the Windows 98 software sold in your state, or should they not bring such a suit?

Should bring suit13%

Should not bring suit68%

Not sure19%

Do you feel that Microsoft is currently contributing to economic growth in the United States, or are they holding back economic growth?

Contributing79%

Holding back 8%

Not sure13%

Microsoft’s success has helped stimulate the growth of the computer industry in the U.S.

Strongly agree62%

Somewhat agree25%

Somewhat disagree 3%

Strongly disagree 2%

Not sure 8%

For more information:

Jennifer Curley (202) 326-1768 email: jennifer_curley@dc.edelman.com

Adrienne Woodward (202) 326-1709 email: adrienne_woodward@dc.edelman.com

Edelman Public Relations Worldwide

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