A group of top IT executives recently sent a letter to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) arguing that any delay in the release of Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system will hurt the industry, a US-based Microsoft spokesman said.
"Our success depends on the freedom of Microsoft and the rest of America's personal computer industry to create new and innovative products," the letter says.
The letter was signed by 26 high-tech executives, including Andy Grove, chairman and chief executive officer of Intel; Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell; Eckhard Pfeiffer, CEO of Compaq; and Lewis Platt, CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Microsoft said it has been receiving calls from industry partners concerned about recent press reports, according to which the June 25 rollout of Windows 98 might be delayed by the ongoing DoJ case against Microsoft or by new antitrust charges being contemplated by the attorneys general of 13 US states.
Microsoft took an active role in drafting the letter, according to spokesperson Mark Murray.
"A lot of our partners have been calling us, asking what they can do to help," Murray said. "The letter was a group effort. Virtually all the companies involved helped to draft and edit the letter."
The DoJ has been investigating Microsoft's business practices related to the bundling of its Internet Explorer browser with Windows. The department alleges that Microsoft is trying to dominate the browser market through that bundling, which it describes as anti-competitive practice. Microsoft has begun to offer PC vendors an unbundled version, but many top vendors -- including those whose leaders signed the letter - have said their customers want Microsoft's bundled software.