In a long overdue move, Microsoft has begun softening its legal rhetoric in its battle against the U.S. Department of Justice. Microsoft's David Fester admits the company has done "a poor job of communicating the overall issues."

"We took the high road and didn't do any of the lobbying like Netscape and Sun did," he said. "There has been a rewriting of history." Fester also said that Microsoft was being "too strident" in its defense of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

"We screwed up and should have done a better job explaining the issues behind the case," said Brad Chase, VP of Microsoft's application and Internet client group.

"There was only one license since we gave OEMs the Windows 95 code in July, 1995," he said. "They agreed to take the product in its totality. We wouldn't let them take IE out, just like you couldn't take out the Explorer interface or Microsoft Paint."

Fester also claims that Microsoft has always seen IE as an upgrade to the operating system, not a separate program.

"We could have called Internet Explorer 3.0 'Windows 96,' but because of the state of the market at that time we called it a browser."

Tuesday, Microsoft VP David Cole will present Microsoft's case to Judge Jackson. Cole, however, isn't a programmer and Fester finds it interesting that the DOJ has never "asked to talk to the technical development people \[Microsoft has\] working on this stuff.