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Microsoft forgot a fundamental of good business the law

Whenever the history of the computer age is compiled, it is certain that Microsoft Corporation and its founder, Bill Gates, will be ranked among the pioneers who saw the potential of a world freed from steno pads, carbon paper and ledger books ... who imagined computers in our homes, and in our hands and then made that dream a reality.

That accomplishment is indicative of the genius behind Gates and his company. He recognized, well in advance of others, the potential of computers communicating ... with each other ... freeing us to work more efficiently -- to entertain, educate and stimulate our lives.

That is the legacy of greatness Microsoft can rightly celebrate.

Whenever the history of modern American business is compiled, it is also quite possible that Microsoft and Gates will be remembered in less flattering terms ... as a corporate citizen who -- the evidence suggests -- dismissed as inconsequential the law of the land that made its success possible.

That failure to heed the role of law in the practice of business is, we believe, the real lesson to be learned from the Microsoft antitrust proceedings. It is a "ruling" of a sort that stands on its own merit, regardless of the eventual outcome of the court proceedings.

We have no desire to see either the stockholders of Microsoft or the corporation's innovative and useful products destroyed. Yet even now, in the face of the court's ruling, Microsoft's public stance is arrogant and offensive to many who otherwise would admire its success.

It has been said that ours is "a government of laws, not of men."

... Or corporations, we might add.

Harry M. Fox

Telegram Editorial Board member

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