Up Front: SOFTWARE HARDBALL
JUSTICE PEERS AT WINDOWS 95
WIN95 HAS AN UNSOCIABLE side that may give the Justice Dept. some ammo for its continuing antitrust probe of Microsoft. The problem is that Win95 sometimes disrupts rival products' Internet links. Occasionally, it destroys Net-connecting programs, such as Quarterdeck Internet Suite. Many consumers who bought the much-ballyhooed new Microsoft program are complaining about this.
The Justice Dept. is looking into competitors' claims that Windows 95 is designed to deprive other players of a level playing field. In early August, Justice backed off from seeking an injunction to stop the Windows 95 debut, but it still fears the new Microsoft Network built into the program will end up dominating other online services. David Pool, executive vice-president of CompuServe's Internet arm, grouses that Microsoft has withheld the info needed to make Win95 dial easily into non-MSN Internet providers.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates denies it has kept data from CompuServe. Microsoft says that it is working to fix blocked links between other Internet products and Win95.Stephen H. Wildstrom