While Microsoft on Friday continued efforts to project a kinder, gentler public image, the company also filed a sharply worded motion responding to the Department of Justice's contempt of court accusation.
Microsoft is attempting to limit the damage caused by the bitter legal fight to its corporate image - and to its stock price. In an awkward attempt to dispell his company's "big bully" image, Bill Gates suggested during an interview with 'Business Week 'that an even more powerful company, IBM, was the driving force behind efforts to unsaddle Microsoft.
Other Microsoft executives have been more effective, apologising in the media for some earlier statements but also claiming its actions have sometimes been "misunderstood" (see previous stories).
"One thing we have to do is, first of all, respect the Department of Justice and respect the judge, and we're sorry if we have made any statements that would suggest we do anything but respect them", Chief Operating Officer Robert Herbold was quoted as saying.
But the brief filed on Friday strikes a different tone. The motion is a response to the DOJ's claim that Microsoft is not abiding with the court's temporary injuction, ordering it to supply PC manufacturers with a version of Windows 95 that does not include Internet Explorer. Microsoft must respond to that accusation at a hearing on Tuesday.
In the motion, Microsoft reiterates earlier claims that it does not to know which files the judge wishes it to remove from Windows 95. "The DOJ's description of what it wants Microsoft to offer separately from Windows 95 changes from week to week and from brief to brief", the document charges.
"This utter confusion prevails despite the fact that the DOJ is obligated to prove that Microsoft conditioned the licensing of Windows 95 to computer manufacturers on 'the licensing of any other Covered Product, Operating System Software product or other product'. The DOJ has no hope of proving that allegation because it cannot even articulate what the 'other product' is supposed to be."
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