Don't delay Win98, say industry leaders

Compaq, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Sony and many other companies have spent millions of dollars developing, marketing and promoting products and services that depend on the on-time launch of Windows 98. In a letter to the US Department of Justice the chiefs of leading 26 leading computer companies have said that the consumer PC business is a seasonal one, and any delay to Windows 98 would undermine their ability to include these products and services in the 'back-to-school' and holiday demand -- traditionally the industry's strongest sales seasons. Here is the text of their letter ...

Following is a letter, dated April 30, sent to the U.S. Department of Justice by 26 executives of the high-tech industry:

Joel Klein

Assistant Attorney General

Antitrust Division

U.S. Department of Justice

Dear Mr. Klein:

We are writing to express our strongest possible concern that the release of Windows 98 would be enjoined by government antitrust litigation. We represent PC industry companies employing hundreds of thousands of American workers. Our success depends on the freedom of Microsoft and the rest of America's personal computer industry to create new and innovative products. While we do not here express an opinion on the merits of any investigation of Microsoft, we respectfully urge you not to take any action that might delay or block the release of Windows 98.

We -- and many other companies in the PC industry -- have spent millions of dollars developing, marketing and promoting products and services that depend on the on-time launch of Windows 98. The consumer PC business is a seasonal one, and any delay to Windows 98 will undermine our ability to include these products and services in the "back-to-school" and holiday demand -- traditionally the industry's strongest sales seasons.

The direct effect on the U.S. economy of a delay to Windows 98 would be considerable: more than 2 million Americans, for instance, develop software that runs on Windows, while a similar number work in the computer services industry. Millions more work in industries creating new hardware devices, including many that Windows 98 supports for the first time. But any action against Windows 98 would also have a broader impact. Businesses would be unable to reap the productivity gains promised by a new generation of software and PCs working in tandem. Consumers, deprived of the right to buy the latest innovative PC operating system -- and therefore the reason to buy new devices and software that work with it -- would keep their cash in their pocketbooks. Interfering with the release of Windows 98 would drag down the entire industry's efforts to deliver value to customers and returns to shareholders.

Ours is one of the most innovative, competitive and productive industries in the world. The pace at which new products are launched is breathtaking: New competitors arrive on the scene every day; prices continue to fall. Few industries have come so far, so fast, or have produced so many benefits for consumers and the economy as a whole. Government intervention into the launch of Windows 98 would endanger what we have all worked for -- and harm consumers and the economy, too.

Sincerely,

Signed

W.J. Sanders III

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Michael Krasny

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

CDW Computer Centers Inc.

Charles Crystle

Founder and Chief Technology Officer

ChiliSoft Inc.

Sam Patterson

Chief Executive Officer

ComponentSource

Nathan Morton

Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Computer City Inc.

Michael Dell

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Dell Computer Corp.

Mark Uland

President

Elsinore Technologies Inc.

Lewis Platt

Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer

Hewlett-Packard Co.

Eckhard Pfeiffer

President and Chief Executive Officer

Compaq Computer Corp.

James Halpin

President and Chief Executive Officer

CompUSA Inc.

Howard Diamond

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Corporate Software and Technology Inc.

Jeffrey Giffiths

Senior Vice President

Electronics Boutique Inc.

Joseph Cayre

Chairman

GT Interactive Services Corp.

Timothy A Crown

President

Insight Enterprises Inc.

Andy Grove

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Intel Corp.

Dwight Steffensen

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Merisel Inc.

Michael Feuer

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

OfficeMax Inc.

Mike Sax

President

Sax Software Corp.

Teruaki Aoki

President and Chief Executive Officer

Sony Electronics Inc.

Jay Amato

President and Chief Executive Officer

Vanstar Corp.

Rob Burgess

President

Macromedia Inc.

Joseph Daltoso

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Micron Electronics Inc.

Beny Alagem

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and President

Packard Bell NEC Inc.

Robert Wolf

President

Sheridan Software Systems Inc.

Gordon Eubanks Jr.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Symantec Corp.

Ted Johnson

Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Visio Corp.

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