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Briefs (left)

Microsoft May Delay New Software In Europe Due to Antitrust

By Paul Meller

Microsoft raised the stakes in its European antitrust battle Thursday by warning that the introduction of the Windows Vista operating system might be delayed there because of unclear antitrust guidance from the European Commission.

The European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, wrote to Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, in March outlining her concerns that some new features in Vista would breach the same antitrust laws that Windows XP, a current version of Microsoft’s operating system, was found to have violated two years ago.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., proposed changes to Vista that would address those concerns and said it had not been told whether the changes would be adequate.

“Once we receive the commission’s response,” the company said in a statement, “we will know whether the commission is seeking additional product design changes that would result in delay in Europe.”

Pakistani Leader, in Kabul, Vows
To Pursue Qaida and Taliban

By Carlotta Gall

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, in a conciliatory speech to Afghan officials and members of parliament, conceded Thursday that al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents had been crossing the border into Afghanistan to mount attacks but denied that he or his government were backing them.

In a major policy shift that may cost him support at home, Musharraf pledged to seek out and destroy the command structure of insurgents apparently linked to Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban rulers, who are fighting NATO and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan. It is the first time he has agreed to go after the Taliban leadership, something the Afghan government and Western countries with troops in Afghanistan have been demanding.

“There are al-Qaida and Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said. “Clearly they are crossing from the Pakistan side and causing bomb blasts in Afghanistan.”

“Please do understand the Pakistan government,” he continued, saying that neither he nor his intelligence agency is “behind anything that is happening in Afghanistan.”

New York City Ad Firms Agree
To Hire More Black Managers

By Diane Cardwell
and Stuart Elliott

Finding that blacks represent just 2 percent of the upper echelons of the advertising industry, New York City officials said Thursday that they had reached agreements with several of the nation’s biggest ad firms forcing them to bring more blacks into this crucial sector of the city’s economy.

The city’s Human Rights Commission found that hiring of blacks had barely improved since an inquiry found similar problems 40 years ago. Of 8,000 employees working for 16 agencies the commission examined, said Patricia L. Gatling, chairwoman of the commission, about 22 percent make more than $100,000 a year, and only 2.5 percent of those are black.

Faced with the findings, nearly a dozen agencies, including those owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies and the WPP Group, have promised to set numerical goals for increasing black representation on their creative and managerial staffs and to report on their progress each year.