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Microsoft postpones major Windows event

The software giant delays a major corporate event set for next week, citing "strong indications" the U.S. District Court may enter a final ruling in its antitrust case.

Microsoft today postponed a major corporate event featuring chairman Bill Gates that was set for next week, citing "strong indications" the U.S. District Court may enter a final ruling next week in its antitrust case.

"As you know, Microsoft scheduled Forum 2000 for June 1 in Redmond, Wash., to provide an update on our vision, strategy and technology road map," Microsoft said today in an email sent to certain editors and reporters.

"However, there are strong indications that the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., may enter its final decree next week in our continuing antitrust matter, an event that we feel would distract attention and focus from our event next Thursday."

As a result, the event is being rescheduled for June 22. The software giant is expected to discuss its ongoing Internet strategy and plans for its Next Generation Windows Services.

Just as U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is weighing whether to split the software giant into two or more companies, Microsoft's new strategy for Web-based services may tie the company's applications and operating systems businesses closer than ever before.

The initiative Breaking the giant: Special Coverage is part of Microsoft's new strategy to keep Windows the dominant operating system in the market, as computing begins to move from desktop computers and toward Internet-enabled wireless devices, such as cell phones and PalmPilots.

The company faces new challenges from Web-based devices, alternative operating systems such as Linux, and alternative programming models that use the Java language.

Microsoft executives previously said they believed the company is well-positioned to tackle the market for several reasons. The company dominates the operating system and Web browser markets and has a wide mix of Internet investments, including the MSN Internet service and WebTV. Microsoft also has stakes in companies such as Digex and Corio, which rent software that is accessed via the Web.

The plan will include a new version of the Windows operating system and new development software for programmers to build Web-based applications.

Microsoft's Passport is an example of such a service. Passport is a so-called electronic wallet that allows people to sign in once and buy items online without having to enter credit card and personal information on numerous sites.

Including Gates, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and other executives were scheduled to speak at Focus 2000.