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July 17, 1998

State Attorneys General Tighten Focus of Microsoft Complaint for upcoming Trial

Following is a statement from the Iowa Attorney General's Office:

The Attorneys General from Iowa and 19 other states and the District of Columbia today tightened the focus in the States' antitrust case against the Microsoft Corporation by filing an amended Complaint in Federal District Court. The amended Complaint sharpens the allegations in preparation for the trial on the merits, which is scheduled to commence September 8.

Based on ongoing discovery, the States allege that Microsoft engaged in a variety of anti- competitive practices that were unlawful in their own right and as part of an illegal scheme to maintain its Windows operating system monopoly. These practices, according to the amended Complaint, included an attempt to divide markets, illegal tying, restrictive license agreements, and exclusive contracts. The States assert that Microsoft's overall purpose was to protect the enormous profits generated by the company's Windows operating system monopoly from the competitive threat posed by Internet web browsing technology.

The amended Complaint also severs the claim relating to Microsoft's conduct regarding Office productivity suites. The amended Complaint was filed as a result of time and witness limitations set by the court for the September 8 trial.

The amended Complaint allows the States to devote their full resources to preparing for trial on Microsoft's conduct relating to web browsers and operating systems while continuing their investigation into Microsoft's conduct regarding Office productivity suites. Subpoenas are being served on Microsoft this week as part of the States' ongoing investigation into Office productivity suite issues.

Attorney General Tom Miller commented: "We are pleased that Judge Jackson agreed with the States' request to put this case on a fast track. Our trial in September needs to focus on the time-sensitive bundling and marketing of Microsoft's browser and Windows 98. The Office productivity suites claim, though very important, is not as time-sensitive as the issues concerning Windows 98. We can better address Office productivity suite issues in a separate action when there is sufficient time to fully prepare the case."

The named plaintiffs in the lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.

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