By Margie Wylie and Nick Wingfield
Staff Writers, CNET NEWS.COM
Gary Reback looks a little weary this morning.
Two years after he first won the spotlight by convincing Judge Daniel Sporkin to reexamine the Justice Department's settlement with Microsoft, Reback's black hair is salted with gray and the boyish roundness of his face has turned lean. It's no wonder. Reback is a man with a mission to single-handedly reign in Microsoft.
For those who question the purity of Microsoft's motives, the antitrust and intellectual property attorney has become David to the Goliath of Redmond, Washington. Not only did the upstart throw a monkey wrench in the Department of Justice settlement by writing a last-minute brief, but Reback was also key in persuading the DOJ to reject Microsoft's bid to buy Intuit.
Now he's written a long letter to the DOJ saying that Microsoft is skunking competition in the Internet arena with its Internet Explorer, just as it did in operating systems. Nothing has come of that yet, but Reback said he expects hearings when Congress reconvenes this year.
If he's a hero to smaller software companies, to Microsoft, Reback is a media-manipulating menace. He admits he fights a lot of his battles in the court of public opinion through the media and doesn't think it unfair. Single-minded and as intense as an accomplished politician, Reback remained "on message," turning even personal questions back to the matter at hand: Microsoft's world domination.
NEWS.COM: Isn't Netscape's technology itself compelling enough to gain a toehold in this new market? Why take this legal route?
Reback: I think you have to remember that all of this began when Microsoft sent Netscape a letter demanding that it stop advertising the fact that Netscape's products are cheaper and better than Microsoft's products when used in conjunction with other Microsoft products. There are a lot of people in the Internet software space that make great products, but if Microsoft is able to squeeze them out through illegal means, then I think there's going to have to be a legal remedy to that.
NEXT: Why Netscape is different from Microsoft