Microsoft Comments on Potential Deal Between Netscape, AOL, Sun
Nov. 23, 1998
Combination would dramatically change competitive landscape in the high technology industry, and undermine government lawsuit.

REDMOND, Wash., November 23, 1998 — Speaking here today on the steps of the Federal Courthouse, Microsoft General Counsel William H. Neukom commented on the rumors of a deal between America Online, Netscape Communications and Sun Microsystems. The following is a transcript of his remarks.

"Good morning. There appears to be a deal in the making. This is a deal that would dramatically change the competitive landscape in the high technology industry. It would mean that the leading browser company, the dominant Internet service company and a leading computer company could be combining forces. The proposed deal demonstrates a simple truth: that there is vigorous competition in the marketplace, and that Microsoft faces resourceful and capable competitors.

"From a legal standpoint, this proposed deal pulls the rug out from under the government. In fact, the mere possibility of this kind of a combination undermines the government's case from start to finish. This lawsuit was designed to benefit competitors, not consumers. The proposed deal shows that the government's case was, and is, unnecessary. Microsoft's competitors have always had the ability and the resources to change the competitive landscape, and to do that virtually overnight.

"We welcome competition in high technology. We're confident that we can continue to bring great technology into the marketplace, and to provide outstanding value for consumers. The government should not be taking sides in an industry that is as open and competitive as this one. These negotiations prove once again that the marketplace and competition is five steps ahead of government intervention."

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