Microsoft president Steve Ballmer last week said he plans to 'take a look at' a licensing clause that prohibits users from publicly discussing the performance of Microsoft software.
The clause, which some information technology shops have complained about, 'sounds like a goofy issue to me', Ballmer said, responding to a question from a GartnerGroup analyst at the consulting firm's annual conference in Florida.
Other software makers, such as Oracle, include similar gag orders in their licences. But Microsoft may want to omit the clause to promote public goodwill as it awaits a decision in its federal antitrust case, said Lawrence Goffney, an attorney who specialises in computer law in Washington.
'When you become dominant like Microsoft, [such a clause] tends to be your leveraging power against your users,' Goffney said.