Microsoft Ignores Those XP Tacklers

For Gates & Co., the stakes are too high to bow to trustbusters -- and that's upping the ante for a showdown

On July 24, Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) aimed a gun at Microsoft Corp.'s future. Calling the company's soon-to-be released Windows XP operating system a threat to America's economic health, he asked trustbusters to seek an injunction halting the launch of the new product. "You can't unring a bell," said Schumer. "If Microsoft proceeds with its current plans and releases XP, there may be no going back." Schumer's high-profile pronouncement has upped the ante for both sides in the now epic struggle between Microsoft and the government. So far, both state and federal officials have remained mum on whether they'll act on the Senator's call. No wonder. Such a momentous move would roil the tech industry -- and it's one that antitrust cops have backed away from in the past. A government source says attorneys general have discussed the possibility of an injunction with Justice Dept. antitrust chief Charles A. James but remain largely divided among themselves. "There are a lot of different points of view," says the source. "Nothing has been resolved."

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