Microsoft Signs Consent Decree with U.S. Government to Settle Antitrust Case

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 2, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has reached a settlement with the United States government in its three-year antitrust case. The settlement, which must be approved by the federal judge overseeing the case, would impose restrictions and regulations for a five-year period on how the company develops and licenses software, works with independent software vendors, and communicates about the inner workings of its software with partners and competitors.

“The settlement is fair and reasonable and, most important, is in the best interests of consumers and the economy,” said Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates. ” While this settlement imposes some very tough rules and restrictions on our business, we believe that resolving this case now is the right thing to do for our customers, for the entire technology industry, and for the economy.

“We are committed to making this settlement a success, and we are committed to continuing to deliver important new innovations that help revitalize the economy and improve peoples lives,” Gates said. “There are many challenges and opportunities ahead for our industry, for our nation and for the global economy, and this settlement will enable Microsoft to focus on the future.”

The settlement was the result of intensive discussions over the last several weeks, which included the assistance of court-appointed mediator Eric Green. Although the Department of Justice and Microsoft reached agreement, the 18 states that were a party to the suit have not yet made a decision whether to participate in the landmark settlement.

“We are pleased that with the help of a mediator we were able to address the federal governments concerns, while ensuring that Microsoft will be able to continue to innovate and advance the frontiers of technology,” said Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. “We are hopeful that the states will join the settlement once they have fully reviewed the terms.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software any time, any place and on any device.

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