Texas investigates Microsoft's competitive practices

Texas has launched an anti-trust investigation against Microsoft, but the southwestern state is being tight-lipped about details. Microsoft says a request to it for information appears to be part of an examination of competition in Internet software.

Texas has launched an anti-trust investigation against Microsoft, but the southwestern state is being tight-lipped about details.

"At this time we are confirming that investigation but we are not confirming any other details," says Sonya Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Texas state attorney general's office in Austin.

Microsoft says its law department received a notice from the Texas attorney general's office late Monday.

"It appears to be a request for information from Microsoft and is part of an examination" of competition in Internet software, says Mark Murray, a Microsoft spokesman.

Microsoft has not yet spoken directly with the Texas attorney general's office, Murray says. "We don't know what has motivated this request and we don't know what aspects of Internet competition they are interested in examining."

This is not Microsoft's first role in an anticompetitive drama. It is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation by the US Department of Justice, which, prodded by Netscape, is looking into Microsoft's competitive practices. The investigation is still open, but Microsoft has not heard from the Justice Department in some time, Murray says. "It has been relatively quiet."

Murray says anticompetitive charges are an attempt to distract Microsoft from the business of making software.

"We understand that some of our competitors view government intervention as a tool to gain competitive advantage."

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