California and 10 other states are jointly investigating Microsoft Corp.'s plan to incorporate Internet Explorer into Windows 98, the operating system set for launch in the first half of this year. The states are cooperating with the Justice Department's antitrust investigation involving Windows 95 and Internet Explorer 3.0. But the states are heightening the investigation by looking at Windows 98, which hasn't been part of the formal federal scrutiny. The other states are Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.
California is home to Microsoft competitors Netscape Communications Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems. Microsoft's home state, Washington, isn't participating in the investigation.
Separately, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Feb. 2 sent Microsoft's 1 million shareholders and 25,700 employees a four-page letter defending the company's business practices and contending consumers are the beneficiaries of rampant competition in the software market.
Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.