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The Independent Culture
FOLLOWING A judge's ruling that the US government can go beyond the battle for the browser market and offer wider evidence of unfair competitive practices in its anti-trust case against Microsoft, attention has turned to allegations that the working relations between Microsoft and other companies went beyond co-operation and into the realm of collusion.

The Seattle Times reported last week allegations that, in a series of meetings between summer 1997 and April 1998, Microsoft tried to divide the market for media players with Apple Computer, and that a deal was proposed whereby Apple would abandon work on its core QuickTime technology, in exchange for Microsoft supporting Apple's video-editing tools - a move Apple is reported to have described as "knifing the baby".

Microsoft denies any attempts at trying to divide the market between itself and its former rival-turned business partner. It says the meetings were legal ways of trying to devise cross-licensing and technology-sharing arrangements. "Our discussions with Apple on streaming media technologies are the kinds of positive discussions that happen every day in the hi- tech industry, where companies outline their respective technologies and work together to ensure that their technologies will operate well together for consumers," Mark Murray, a Microsoft spokesman, said. "We did not attempt to divide the market with Apple or anyone else."