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Home » Hacking News » Microsoft faces monopoly fight on new software

Microsoft faces monopoly fight on new software

by ivy on June 25th, 2001 MICROSOFT is facing an onslaught of new monopoly objections to its Windows XP software, ahead of an imminent US Court of Appeals ruling on the Government’s antitrust case against it.

Competitors and politicians are claiming that Microsoft is trying to bulldoze its way into new markets such as online music distribution with Windows XP, in the same way that it forced its way into the Internet browser market with past versions of Windows software.

Windows is installed on 90per cent of personal computers. Microsoft argues that no company is prevented from running its own software on Windows, and that the new features of Windows XP will benefit consumers.

Two of Microsoft’s worst enemies among US attorney-generals, Tom Miller, of Iowa, and Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, last week issued a statement describing Windows XP as “very troubling”.

They added: “We’re concerned that Microsoft may be doing some of the same things they did before. Our concern is history repeating itself with even more at stake.”

Windows XP, to be released in October, is expected to include several kinds of music software, including Windows Media Player, and other features, such as instant messaging, a form of instant e-mail that allows people to hold “live” conversations online.

The Court of Appeals is expected to issue a ruling soon on whether Microsoft should be broken in two — one part for software, and the other for Internet products — as punishment for alleged bullying in the past. The break-up recommendation was made last June by US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

Microsoft was taken to court three years ago by attorney-generals of 19 US states and the Justice Department. They claimed Microsoft had abused its monopoly power to wrest control of the Internet browser market away from Netscape Communications, now owned by AOL Time Warner.

AOL is understood to have briefed attorney-generals against Microsoft. It has also refused to promise not to sue Microsoft over antitrust issues in future, which contributed to AOL software being dropped from Windows XP last week.

Microsoft expects a lenient ruling by the Court of Appeals because of the Bush Administration’s more pro-business line. Microsoft is thought to have spent $1 billion (£708 million) creating Windows XP, its most important launch since Windows 95 six years ago.

by Chris Ayres for The New York Times

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