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Bristol bristles

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Bristol Technology joins the growing ranks of institutions suing Microsoft for anti competitive behaviour. The suit, filed under the Sherman Antitrust Act in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, alleges that Microsoft injured Bristol and others in the software industry through predatory manipulation of the access to the Windows programming interfaces. Bristol says that Microsoft has caught it up in a charade to suppress competition from other operating systems, like UNIX, Compaq's OpenVMS and IBM's OS/390. Bristol says that Microsoft created a dependency on the Windows interfaces, and is now restricting access in away that it knows is oppressive, unworkable and unreasonable. The injunction would require Microsoft to provide Bristol with source code for future versions of Windows operating systems, including Microsoft Windows NT 4 and Windows NT 5. Keith Blackwell, chairman and president of Bristol, said: "It is daunting for a company of Bristol's size to take on a company as large as Microsoft in court." The dispute should haveen simple to resolve in inter-company negotiations, he said: "However, Microsoft did not negotiate in good faith so we have no choice but to take our case to court." The suit relies on the fact that a monopolist may not stop dealing with its competitors if that cessation injures competition. Bristol believes it has a strong case, and says it will pursue it vigorously. No-one at Microsoft was available to comment. ®

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