Article 36 of 352
Joseph Gallivan
New York Post
Page 7
Copyright (c) 2000, N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Talk about Windows of opportunity.

Bill Gates can now breathe a sigh of relief - while he gets back to world domination.

The Supreme Court decision yesterday to send the antitrust case back to the lower courts "in one way is hard on [Microsoft]," said NYU professor Nicholas Economides . "They can't do any really big deals while they're being watched like this, like AOL-Time Warner.

"But this court [where the case will now be heard] has been favorable to them before, so they know they can probably bundle whatever they want from now on."

"Bundling" was one of the practices that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who ruled against Microsoft in the antitrust case, objected to.

But Economides noted that consumers love the free "bundled" extras that Microsoft wants to provide, like browsers and music players.

William Kovacic, law professor at George Washington University, said he couldn't see a decision before spring of 2002.

And he believes "the realistic possibility for a break-up of Microsoft died today."

The company will now be able to bombard consumers with new products - many of them more sexy than the boring spreadsheets and operating systems of old, experts said.

For example, it's full speed ahead for plans to launch special stores in Radio Shack. Microsoft also will push broadband access hard as it tries to get a jump on AOL in the high-speed stakes. It's expected to be able to continue bundling new products such as its competitor to Real Player music software and its photo and video editing software with Windows ME.

Synergy is the name of the game. With yesterday's decision, Microsoft-owned Webzine Slate is likely to continue to be available in the Microsoft Reader format for the Microsoft Pocket PC.

And Microsoft will be able to go after the video game market with the X-Box due in 2001 - its answer to Playstation.

As Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan put it: "If you sit on the sidelines, you get passed by in this industry."


Copyright © 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.