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Network: Bytes - Microsoft battles in and out of court

Following newspaper reports, based on leaks, that the US Justice Department - currently engaged in an antitrust suit with Microsoft - says it has enough evidence to press a new, larger case against the software company, Senator Patty Murray last week asked the Attorney General, Janet Reno, to confine the Justice Department's activities to the courtroom. "By allowing officials to leak selectively such information to the media, the department's credibility is undermined and assurances of fairness and confidentiality are questioned," she said.

Microsoft itself took to the press with a series of newspaper adverts defending the way it does business. "We believe the marketplace should determine what innovations consumers want," the advert read. "At Microsoft, the freedom to innovate for our customers is more than just a goal; it is a principle worth standing up for." In a separate statement, the company said that it had modified hundreds of contracts with companies to remove provisions that limit their ability to promote browsers made by competitors such as Netscape.

Several states, meanwhile, remain unimpressed with the way Microsoft does business. They accuse Microsoft of using its dominance over computer operating systems to extend its control to related areas, such as the Internet. California, which has more resources and experience in hi-tech litigation than most other states, has joined 10 others that appear to be on the brink of launching their own antitrust actions against Microsoft before the middle of next month, when the final code for Windows 98 is expected to be released to computer vendors and other distributors.