Microsoft needs to change the way it interacts with the technology industry, said its own chief executive, Steve Ballmer.
"We understand, based upon the fact that our industry didn't rally to support us, that we need to change the way we interact and relate to that industry," he said at a recent shareholders meeting.
He said the company needed to develop better relationships with startups in Silicon Valley as well as with software vendors and service companies "that have been our lifeblood."
The statement comes as a US federal judge has outlined how the Microsoft anti-trust case will proceed now that it has divided into states that have and have not agreed to the settlement.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the US government, and the nine states that agreed to the settlement with Microsoft, to follow the first track.
The judge has given them until 15 November to file a proposed copy of the agreement, along with a study analysing the impact of the agreement on the technology industry.
The agreement requires Microsoft to provide technical details to help rivals make products compatible with its monopoly Windows operating system. It also bans exclusive contracts with computer makers that put rival software vendors at a disadvantage.
The judge ordered the US government to publish summaries of the settlement and its competitive analysis in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The San Jose Mercury News at least seven times during the last half of November.
Citizens will have 60 days to send the Justice Department written comments about the agreement.
The states that have decided to continue their battle against the software giant will file a joint status report addressing their remaining concerns in the case.
The judge announced a status conference for 4 March next year. The states have until 22 February, 2002 to file any motions, including what sanctions the judge should impose on Microsoft.
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