Joel KleinAssistant Attorney GeneralAntitrust DivisionU.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.