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DoJ investigates MS role in Corel Linux pullout

Another administration, another subpoeana...

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Microsoft has confirmed that it's the subject of a new antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice, over its investment in Corel this time. Although the new Bush administration is seen as being more likely to ease up on Microsoft than the previous tenants, it still appears to be business as usual round at the DoJ.

According to Microsoft the Corel investigation is one of those routine, "narrow" things. That of course is how they usually start, but as the new appointees at the DoJ can scarcely have got their feet under the table yet, it's perfectly possible that this one won't turn out to be serious.

The DoJ subpoeanaed Microsoft for all documentation relating to the Corel deal three weeks ago. Its interest in the $135 million Microsoft put into the company in support of its .NET strategy was reportedly piqued by Corel's subsequent decision to get out of the Linux OS business. But under the circumstances the Corel deal surely couldn't have had anything in common with, say, the browser carve-up deal Netscape claimed Microsoft offered it. Or the alleged quid pro quo whereby Microsoft didn't kill Mac Office if Apple bundled IE. Or - on second thoughts... ®

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