DOJ gains momentum on MS

The U.S. Department of Justice has unearthed an internal Microsoft document to bolster its complaint that the software giant is unlawfully using its Windows monopoly to push its Internet browsing software, in violation of a 1995 consent decree. The DOJ has found a December 1996 email message from Microsoft's senior vice president Jim Allchin to group vice president Paul Maritz, which states that copying features is not enough and 'that we must leverage Windows more. Treating [Explorer] as just an add-on to Windows which is cross-platform [is] losing our biggest advantage - Windows market share.'

The U.S. Department of Justice has unearthed an internal Microsoft document to bolster its complaint that the Redmond, Washington, software giant is unlawfully using its Windows monopoly to push its Internet browsing software, in violation of a 1995 consent decree.

Microsoft claims that Internet Explorer is an integrated feature of Windows 95 and that the government was well aware of the company's plans when the consent decree was signed.

The two products have been integrated since the release of Windows 95, Microsoft officials said.

But to show that company officials didn't consider the products integrated as late as last year, the Justice Department pointed to the following Dec. 20, 1996 electronic-mail message from Microsoft's senior vice president Jim Allchin to group vice president Paul Maritz:

"I don't understand how [Internet Explorer] is going to win. The current path is simply to copy everything that Netscape [Communications Corp.] does packaging and productwise. . . . My conclusion is that we must leverage Windows more. Treating [Explorer] as just an add-on to Windows which is cross-platform [is] losing our biggest advantage Windows market share."

Allchin said Microsoft should think "first about an integrated solution. That is our strength."

The Justice Department claims Microsoft is leveraging its Windows market share to "increase distribution of Internet Explorer and thus to `win' the browser war."

Microsoft has said it was merely improving its Windows operating system, adding a feature that customers wanted.

A federal judge will decide next month how the case will proceed.

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