Microsoft: Meanwhile, Back at the Campus

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REDMOND: The timeout in the Microsoft-DOJ cage match may be tough on lawyers and the media, but it's good news for sleep-deprived Microserfs as they work to exterminate the final bugs in Windows 98. Inside the "War Room," otherwise known as Building 27-South on Microsoft's Redmond campus, harried executives are conducting two-a-day meetings, checking off their tasks needed to finish the "golden master" Windows 98 CDs that they will present to computer makers.

"They weren't finished on Wednesday, and it wasn't certain they'd be done in time on Friday, so the delay helps them," reports TIME's David Jackson from Redmond. It's painstaking work -- even one tiny flaw can send the dominoes of the more than 18 million lines of code (Win95 had 15 million) tumbling.

While many programmers are privately worried that the program they spent three years on could be scuttled by the feds, there's not much they can do publicly to defend the project. They're leaving Microsoft's defense in the hands of attorney William Neukom, whose public relations strategy consists chiefly of repeating over and over that Microsoft's competitors are fighting in court what they can't beat in the marketplace. But even Neukom will have noticed one benefit of Joel Klein's suit -- while the advertising budget for Windows 98 is a fraction of that for Windows 95, the DOJ is ensuring that the new product is getting just as much publicity.