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Microsoft Briefing Planned

By James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 25, 2000; Page E01

Justice Department antitrust attorneys are scheduled to brief White House lawyers and economic advisers today about the government's proposal to break Microsoft into separate companies.

The Justice Department and 19 states have until Friday to file their remedy plan in the Microsoft case to a federal judge, and they appear to be rallying around a proposal to divide Microsoft into a Windows operating system company and a software applications company. Support is dwindling for breaking off a third new company from Microsoft's Internet operations, according to people close to the discussions.

Microsoft officials, faced with what they consider a radical proposal that would ravage the company, are preparing to launch a fierce legal battle, attacking a breakup as unnecessary, unwarranted and unprecedented, according to people familiar with the company's thinking.

Today's meeting marks a rare move by the White House to seek a briefing on an ongoing antitrust lawsuit. "The Department of Justice will provide an informational briefing on the Microsoft case to the president's economic team and counsel's office tomorrow," White House spokesman Jake Siewert said yesterday.

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