Microsoft Wins One

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Call it a Pyrrhic victory for Bill Gates. With just one day left before the likely onslaught of a massive, coordinated state and federal antitrust lawsuit, Microsoft is celebrating Tuesday’s U.S. appeals court ruling: that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s restrictions on bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 95 does not apply to Windows 98. Redmond took a hearty crumb of comfort from the “very significant news,” which the Justice Department promptly brushed aside. “Our investigation is ongoing,” warned DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona. Indeed, a senior official in one state attorney general's office told the New York Times that they will file a complaint that will be surprising in its scope: "It's going to be more far-reaching than most people think."

That it may be, but there’s hope for the Empire yet. Texas attorney general Dan Morales announced late Tuesday that his state would not participate in the upcoming anti-Microsoft free-for-all -- at least not for another few weeks. Morales cited concerned letters from Texas-based computer manufacturers Compaq and Dell -- a sign that Redmond’s write-in campaign may just have opened up a crack in the antitrust facade. Whether that crack will be large enough to ship Windows 98 through is another question.