Bill Gates Runs Full-Page Ads in National Newspapers

QWERTYUIOP, WA /DenounceNewswire/ -- May 19, 1998 --

Bill Gates, an employee of Microsoft Corporation, ran full-page ads in several national newspapers today, attempting to explain Microsoft's position in the face of two massive courts martial suits filed by Johns Hopkins, Wells Fargo, Nils Lofgren, and Attorneys General.

As a service to Denounce readers who may have missed the published letter, it is being reprinted below:

To Our Customers, Partners and Shareholders

When Microsoft was formed 23 years ago, we made a commitment to domination -- to creating a software goliath that would bring lines of revenue to the company in an affordable, accessible way from every home and office. Today, PC's are helping millions of people learn how to play Solitaire, waste time on the Internet, and become further estranged from society in ways that make the worst of television look harmless.

Now, a lot has been said recently about competition and consumer choice. I would like to set the record straight on these issues. First, there is no competition. It has been eliminated. Period.

Second, consumer choice: it's as strong and vibrant as ever, and as long as I am in charge of the world, it will always be. Consumers have the choice to either use personal computers and the Internet, or to not use personal computers and the Internet. It's that simple. If they wish to use personal computers and the Internet, then they have to pay Microsoft. If they choose not to, they can do whatever they want with their money. They are completely free to do whatever they wish. It's that simple.

As an aside for a moment: a lot of you may be wondering why I've recently been peppering my public pronouncements with the word "consumer". The reason I've been doing that is that whenever our country's elected officials see or hear that word, their brains unconsciously translate the word to "voter", and so their perception is that I've just said the word "voter". If I actually used the word "voter" in my public pronouncements, you might think something funny was going on. Hence, I choose to use the word "consumer" to fool both the public and their elected officials.

As you have probably heard, on May 18th the Department of Justice and a number of two-word organizations whose first word is plural but whose second word is singular have filed antitrust lawsuits against us in federal court. We believe the allegations made in these lawsuits have merit --- and we are terrified that if the litigation were to succeed, it would cause the value of my stock to fall precipitously, and that could hurt the U.S. economy, which would spoil the buying mood of the nation, and further eat away at Microsoft's profits.

Let me be perfectly clear: I will not allow that to happpen.

During the past two weeks, Microsoft engaged in serious discussions with federal and state officials in an effort to avoid a protracted lawsuit. But their key demands -- that Microsoft incorporate Netscape's competing Web-browsing software in every copy of Windows, or that we license PC makers to emasculate Windows by hiding its entire user interface and removing access to its Internet technology --- appear to benefit all consumers at the expense of our company.

We do not believe that the government should be in the business of designing software products -- that is a job best left to lawyers and investment bankers.

PC makers are already free to install Web-browsing software from any company on their computers, and to display that software prominently. We at Microsoft have only asked these PC Makers to agree that consumers be forced to stick sharp pencils into their eyes if they choose to actually use any such non-Microsoft software on their PC. Windows users can already choose between Microsoft's Internet Explorer and any other Web browser -- as long as they launch Internet Explorer in 98% of their screen display, and keep the competitor browser shrunk to a window size not much larger than a typical icon. We insist that this is fair and reasonable.

I want you to know that Microsoft will vigorously defend the fundamental principle at stake in this litigation. The freedom to dominate --- to embrace, extend, and erode competition -- has been the mainstay of our industry for more than two decades, and has helped turn me into the richest man in the world. Without it, today's PC would have a NeXT icon in the upper right-hand corner of the display, and users would be far more productive and satisfied.

Therefore, today I am announcing that Microsoft will immediately commence conducting its own thermonuclear testing, and that we will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons of mass destruction if we deem it necessary and prudent to assure the continuance and prosperity of the Microsoft way of life for all consumers.


Bill Gates

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