Ballmer vows 'an entirely new Microsoft'

Ballmer vows 'an entirely new Microsoft'

Microsoft Corp. chief executive officer Steve Ballmer yesterday called the company's antitrust settlement with the Justice Department 'tough but fair' and said it will lead to 'an entirely new Microsoft.' In the third e-mail letter of a widely distributed series from himself and chairman Bill Gates, Ballmer promised hardware vendors 'a transparent and uniform price list' for Windows operating systems.

He also promised:

  • Interface changes that will allow removal of Microsoft features in favor of competing products

  • Free disclosure to competitors of nearly 300 internal Windows interfaces

  • Licensing of 113 protocols used for Windows client-server communication.

  • Ballmer said Microsoft is establishing a compliance committee of outsiders, an internal compliance officer and a technical committee to work with Justice after the settlement.

    'When I joined Microsoft in 1980,' he said, 'we had about 30 employees and never dreamed in our wildest imaginations that we would eventually employ 50,000 people in more than 70 countries.' This year the company will spend $5 billion on R&D alone. Ballmer said he is 'sensitive to new issues of corporate governance,' and if a product falls short, he will not 'sugarcoat the problems.'

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