Bill Gates is taking Microsoft's case to the American public with a national US television advertisement campaign.

Though Gates does not speak about US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling in the ad, analysts said it was an attempt to win over public and political support for the company.

Last week Jackson ruled Microsoft had violated state and federal antitrust laws.

Gates extols the virtues of Microsoft in the 30-second spot from the Microsoft campus. Wearing a sweater and sitting in a Microsoft office, Gates speaks over the strains of guitar music.

Live and learn Gates said: "Twenty-five years ago, my friends and I started with nothing but an idea - that we could harness the power of the PC to improve people's lives. Since then, it's become a tool that has transformed our economy and had a profound effect on how we live and how our children learn.

"Now our goal at Microsoft is to create the next generation of software, to keep innovating and improving what we can do for you. The best is yet to come."

The ads began airing Thursday night on major US television networks and cable outlets, Dan Leach, a Microsoft spokesman, said.

The ad was broadcast to refocus public attention on Microsoft products, rather than to alter public perception of Microsoft, Leach said. He could not provide details about how much the ad cost, or when it was produced.

Directing attention "Given all the news [about the antitrust ruling] in the last week, we just thought it would be a good time for the public to hear from Bill Gates about Microsoft's view of the future of technology and our commitment to innovation," Leach said.

However, several analysts said Microsoft is trying to gain support as the judge gets set to weigh remedies to be taken against Microsoft. Hearings on remedies begin May 24.

"It's a situation where Microsoft believes it can achieve some of its goals by influencing public opinion," said Chris Le Tocq, research director of Gartner Group, California.

Another public relations aim of Microsoft is to influence national lawmakers, said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with the Gartner Group in Connecticut. He said : "Microsoft has learned the importance of having friends in high places."