MS accused of killing pen computing pioneer Go

More anti-trust action

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The founder of tablet computing pioneer Go Corporation has revived long dormant allegations of corporate wrongdoing with an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft. Jerry Kaplan alleges that Go technology demonstrated to Microsoft technicians under non-disclosure was used to help develop competing products.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages and filed in the US District Court in San Francisco last week, also alleges that Microsoft tried to "kill off" Go in the early 1990s. According to the suit, Microsoft allegedly used various "incentives and threats" to pressure Compaq, Fujitsu, Toshiba and other OEMS into rejecting Go's operating system.

Documents from Compaq disclosed during Microsoft's 1999 anti-trust trial suggest, at the very least, that the hardware manufacturer was fearful of Microsoft's reaction if it opted to license GO's software on its PDA.

However Microsoft says Kaplan's allegations against it are without foundation. "These claims are 20 years old and they were baseless then and they are baseless now," a Microsoft spokeswoman told the New York Times.

Kaplan's lawsuits emerged just days after Microsoft announced a $850m anti-trust settlement with IBM over Redmond's business practices in making sure IBM's OS/2 operating system and SmartSuite productivity software never gained enough market traction to challenge Microsoft's market dominance. Microsoft has coughed up more than $3bn to rivals such as Sun Microsystems, AOL and Gateway over various anticompetitive matters in recent years.

Go was founded in 1987 to create software that relied on a pen instead of a keyboard in the user interface of either mobile computers or PDAs. Its PenPoint OS ran on AT&T's EO Personal Communicator but it was starved of other success and the firm was bought by AT&T and merged with the firm's EO portable computer unit in 1994. Kaplan later regained control of Go's assets after purchasing them from AT&T's Lucent spin-off. ®

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