Originally created 03/13/98

Justice Department likely won't block Windows 98



NEW YORK -- The Justice Department likely will not stop Microsoft from releasing its Windows 98 software with an Internet browser, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

Instead, the department's antitrust enforcers are expected to ask U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to require Microsoft to also offer a Windows 98 version without Internet software, the Journal reported, citing sources close to the case.

Microsoft already faces a Justice Department lawsuit alleging it violated a 1995 court order designed to prevent anti-competitive conduct. Department investigators are gathering evidence for a wider antitrust case against the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant, the newspaper said.

Justice lawyers say Microsoft has leveraged its dominance to gain market share for its Internet browsers, which navigate around the World Wide Web.

In January, Microsoft avoided a contempt-of-court citation by agreeing to let computer makers temporarily offer its latest version of Windows 95 without easy access to its Internet Explorer software. The company has appealed a December federal court order on the browser issue.

The paper said Microsoft likely would fight a requirement for a browser-less Windows 98.