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Officials from Iowa and Connecticut say they will pursue the current Redmond suit — but that no sequel is imminent. State attorneys general who led the antitrust case against Microsoft repeated Thursday that they had serious concerns about the software giant’s latest operating system update, Windows XP, but attempted to quash speculation about any new lawsuits. After an Associated Press report late Wednesday stated that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Connecticut counterpart Richard Blumenthal were privately discussing a new lawsuit, the two issued a joint denial. “We have no current plans for a second lawsuit,” the statement read. “We are entirely focused on the present case.” Miller and Blumenthal also added: “We would never completely rule out a new suit, but our focus now is on the antitrust case that is already before the courts.” The Industry Standard first reported in March that state attorneys general involved in the case were concerned about Windows XP and Microsoft’s plan to offer Internet-based services through its HailStorm initiative. Both offerings will incorporate Microsoft versions of products such as media players and e-commerce tools, which currently are sold by competing software vendors, into the company’s operating system — a tactic reminiscent of Microsoft’s incorporation of a Web browser into Windows to combat Netscape. Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found Microsoft guilty of a host of antitrust violations, including improperly tying its Web browser to the Windows operating system, and ordered the company split in two. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is reviewing Jackson’s ruling, and a decision is imminent. Miller and Blumenthal said they might ask to include allegations about Windows XP and HailStorm in future proceedings related to the current case — especially if, as expected, the appeals court sends the case back to a district court for reconsideration. “If the case is remanded to the district court, these are matters that we may well be able to bring to the judge’s attention,” the two attorney generals said in Thursday’s statement. Miller and Blumenthal, along with officials from 17 other states and the District of Columbia that backed the Microsoft suit, have spent the past week in Vermont at a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. Microsoft competitors presented their allegations about HailStorm to AGs attending the meeting Wednesday. Mike Pettit, president of ProComp, an anti-Microsoft group backed by some of Microsoft’s largest competitors, presented a fresh research paper decrying Microsoft’s Windows XP and HailStorm strategies to the attorneys general. Pettit said the paper would be sent to the Justice Department on Thursday, but no DOJ meeting has been scheduled on the matter. Microsoft’s highly publicized spat with America Online also has brought renewed attention to the software giant’s conduct. For example, during failed negotiations between the two companies over whether to include AOL software in Windows XP, Microsoft demanded that AOL end its exclusive use of media-player software from RealNetworks in favor of Microsoft’s own player. The Justice Department, which also was a party to the original lawsuit against Microsoft, declined to comment. The agency’s antitrust division under Democrat Joel Klein filed the original suit, and paid for star litigator David Boies to run the case. But with Republicans now in control at the DOJ, the department is much less likely to pursue the original case or bring any new action. Microsoft, which has denied that any of its conduct violated antitrust laws, was not immediately available to comment. Keith Perine contributed to this report. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: Schmooze Away, Ballmer Commerce One Hit With Shareholder Lawsuit for Alleged IPO Misdeeds EU Urged to Nix GE, Honeywell Deal Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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