Three influential states have joined the anti-trust probe into Microsoft Corp started earlier this year by Massachusetts and Texas, according to the Wall Street Journal (CI No 3,099). California, New York and Connecticut are all now looking into Redmond’s activities, with particular emphasis on Internet Explorer and its proposed integration with Windows 98, which is due in the second quarter of next year. Connecticut Attorney Generals office is apparently looking into alleged monopoly status and whether Redmond is trying to prevent any personal computer manufacturers from shipping machines containing any competitors browser, which of course means Netscape Communications Corp’s Navigator/Communicator. More interesting still are allegations that Microsoft’s contracts with its suppliers requires them to alert Redmond if they receive requests for information from state or federal authorities. Investigators are trying to get access to the OEM agreements Microsoft issues to see if they contain such a clause. Massachusetts investigators have already approached IBM Corp for information as well as its Lotus Development Corp subsidiary, as well as Dell Computer Corp, Gateway 2000 Corp, Compaq Computer Corp and travel reservation service Sabre Group, a division of AMR Corps American Airlines. Microsoft’s online travel reservation service, called Expedia, was launched a year ago.
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