MS foes press lawmakers for second antitrust suit

State lawmakers are being pressed by an industry trade group created by Microsoft's biggest foes to file a second antitrust suit against the software maker.

          State lawmakers are being pressed by an industry trade group created by Microsoft's biggest foes to file a second antitrust suit against the software maker.

          ProComp, a group backed by Microsoft rivals including Oracle and Sun Microsystems, took a pile of paperwork to Vermont this week to convince US state attorneys general during their annual meeting there that Microsoft's plans to bundle messaging and media applications with its next operating system is a move to extend its monopoly power into other markets.

          The group suggested that Microsoft is again using its monopoly power in the PC operating systems market to stifle competition, this time with its forthcoming Windows XP operating system, ProComp president Mike Pettit says

          He would not comment on whether the state attorneys general were receptive to his presentation.

          "I'm not in the position to summarise their response," Pettit says. "Those are judgements they have to make on their own."

          Attorneys general attending the meeting could not be reached for comment.

          Part of Microsoft's strategy with Windows XP parallels the one used in 1996 when it tightly integrated its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser with Windows, Pettit says. By giving its browser software away for free with the operating system, which was used on almost 90% of all PCs, Microsoft helped crush a competing browser from Netscape Communications. The behaviour contributed to the company being branded a predatory monopolist by a US District Court, a decision the software maker has appealed.

          "We've identified a number of additional violations of the law and we will bring them to the attention of lawmakers," Pettit says. "If they agree, they have to decide what to do."

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