Again, The Ftc Begs To Dither

The air at the July 16 meeting was frosty. On one side of a table at the Federal Trade Commission was William H. Gates III, the billionaire chairman of Microsoft Corp., for three years the target of an antitrust investigation. On the other sat Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga, the potential swing vote in any decision to pursue the affair. Azcuenaga listened quietly as Gates argued that she should leave his company alone. When it was over, nobody had any idea how the chips might fall. "She held her cards close to the vest," says one person familiar with the meeting.

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