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Friday, 1 May, 1998, 02:43 GMT 03:43 UK
New Microsoft battle looming
Windowns 95 display
Windows 95 is the subject of federal action - now Windows 98 is under attack
A number of states in the US are set to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the software giant Microsoft.

Connecticut Attorney-General Richard Blumenthal said: "It is very imminent, probably within the next couple of weeks. We're certainly at the cusp of deciding whether to go forward."

Mr Blumenthal said the states involved were seeking to prevent the corporation from releasing the latest version of its personal computer operating system, Windows 98, which is due to go to computer makers in mid-May.

The suit would focus on the "Microsoft monopoly and the extension of that monopoly through Windows 98 and the restraints that it is imposing on Windows 98 users to incorporate other software products and screen restrictions down the line."

The suit would focus on Microsoft 'stranglehold'
"The use of that dominance to tie and leverage other products and thereby restrain competition is what concerns us," Mr Blumenthal added.

The states' move follows court action by the Justice Department against Microsoft last year, charging that it had violated a 1995 agreement that was supposed to help increase competition in the software industry.

It has continued battling with Microsoft over issues involving Windows 95, but has not filed any lawsuits against Windows 98.

Earlier in the week Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said that the company had been "working very closely both with states and the Justice Department to resolve any questions they might have."

"We are hopeful that both the states and the Department of Justice will agree that Microsoft is completely within the law and competing fairly."

Mr Murray said the company planned to integrate its Internet Explorer Web browser in Windows 98. Any attempt to stop the system could affect millions of dollars that other software companies have spent preparing to build new software to work with Windows 98, he added.

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