The growth in Microsoft's European business has surprised chief operating officer Bob Herbold, although he admitted the company does not know if it will be legally allowed to ship Windows 98 on time.
Microsoft never breaks down its results by geographic region but Herbold, speaking at the Hambrecht & Quist Technology Conference in San Francisco, said the European business is performing well. "It continues to be healthy and surprised us a bit to be honest," he said. "It had been slower than other areas for a couple of years."
Herbold said that Microsoft will not speculate on the legal moves made by US states and the Department of Justice over Windows 98 but said there is no indication to suggest the product launch will be delayed - although he admitted this could not be certain yet.
When challenged on Microsoft's legal wrangles, he maintained the company's defiant stance. "What the world wants is simplicity, so we embed technology in our products," he said. "Microsoft believes that should continue without government intervention."
He also claimed other operating system vendors embed Internet technology in their OSs, including Sun Microsystems in Solaris 2.6, Apple in Mac OS 8.1 and IBM in OS/2 Warp.
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