Microsoft now realizes that it is large enough for its decisions to impact on other technology companies, and that it must play by new rules and take an industry leadership role, according to the company's CEO Steve Ballmer.In a public e-mail released Wednesday, Ballmer said that now the antitrust settlement between Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Justice and individual states had been approved, he believes executives and staff "are creating an entirely new Microsoft.""As CEO, I can personally assure you that Microsoft will commit all the time, energy and resources necessary to follow through on our responsibilities," Ballmer wrote in the e-mail. "We have learned a great deal from our experiences of these past few years, in particular about our responsibilities as an industry leader."Ballmer said that during the antitrust proceedings, "not everyone in the industry raced to support us (Microsoft)." As a consequence, Ballmer said, Microsoft learned that it needed to take a different perspective on being a good industry leader.An example of this new approach is the way that Microsoft is cooperating with other companies to develop standards based on XML for communicating across the Web, according to Ballmer."We recognize that we need to support industry cooperation in new and creative ways," Ballmer said. "The entire industry has embraced XML as the universal way for computers to talk to each other in a much richer way across the World Wide Web. Today companies like Microsoft and IBM collaborate on enhancing XML-based standards while at the same time competing to make innovative, easy-to-use software that helps customers take advantage of the power of XML."The cooperation extends to working with governments on the increasingly important topic of security, as businesses and government rely more heavily on the Internet to conduct business, Ballmer said."I think we are on the verge of a new era of partnership with government - not just for our company, but for the broader industry," he wrote. "For example, we're actively cooperating with governments at all levels to fight identity theft, cybercrime and attacks on the Internet, such as the concerted attacks on DNS servers last month.Going forward, Microsoft intends to be a good corporate citizen in every way, Ballmer said.\n\n"We are renewing our commitment to improve our communications with partners and customers. We are dedicated to being a responsible leader in our industry. And we are passionate about bringing the benefits of digital technology to every community in the world," he wrote in the e-mail. "I want to make Microsoft a truly great company that is respected and successful over the next 50 years."