Microsoft Sues Over Antitrust Charges
Microsoft Corp. formally denied allegations it used illegal business practices to quash competition in the Internet browser market and simultaneously countersued the states that accused it of anti-competitive behavior. In its first official response to antitrust suits filed in May by the Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general, the software giant said the states unconstitutionally seek to undermine its federal copyright protections. Microsoft said it will prove it planned to include Internet browsing functions in its ubiquitous Windows operating system in late 1993--before rival Netscape Communications Corp. was even founded. Microsoft also denied it illegally tried to divvy up the browser market with Netscape, and said its Internet Explorer browser is overtaking Netscape’s Navigator because it’s superior. State antitrust officials said the countersuit is without merit. “It seems to be largely a publicity stunt since it just repeats material asserted earlier,” said Stephen Houck, the New York antitrust chief and leader of the states’ litigation team. Shares of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft fell $4.50 to close at $112.25 on Nasdaq.