Judge Thomas Jackson has scheduled a hearing for Friday so that Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice can meet before him and present preliminary information. Jackson is set to hear the case against Microsoft, which could drag on for years. Meanwhile, Microsoft executives continue to keep the heat on the DOJ. Executive Vice President Steve Ballmer reiterated his company's stand on Tuesday.

"This is a fight about the right to add value," said Ballmer. "We are not trying to take over the world. We are trying to enhance and improve our products. I am disappointed that we're not able to reach some kind of accommodation, disappointed that the government does not acknowledge what we believe to be true, which is \[that\] 100% \[of our\] operation \[is\] in accordance with the law and this country. I am disappointed that the government feels the need to challenge the right of any company to improve its product, specifically our right to improve our product."

Ballmer said the fight with the DOJ extends far beyond Windows 98.

"\[This\] is a fight about the right to integrate, the right to innovate, and the right to enhance products. The specific complaint may be 98-related, but all principles being challenged apply just as well to NT as to anything else we do," he said.

And while the DOJ stopped short of attempting to breakup Microsoft--though that strategy was contemplated--Ballmer said such a breakup would never happen.

"Microsoft's not going to be broken up," Ballmer said. "It is not a subject of discussion. Its not something we are interested in or consider a remedy to the complaints the DOJ has, even if those complaints had merit, which they do not. It's not worth speculating on something which is absolutely out of the question."

Perhaps most importantly, Ballmer said the DOJ's action would have no effect on the shipment of Windows NT 5.0, which will feature all of the same Internet enhancements of Windows 98 with some new additions