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MCI Subpoenaed in Microsoft Case

February 20, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Justice Department, apparently expanding its antitrust investigation of Microsoft Corp., has sent a civil subpoena to MCI Communications Corp., an MCI spokeswoman confirmed today.

America Online Inc. and other Internet service providers reportedly also received subpoenas as part of the government’s probe into Microsoft’s business practices.

MCI received the civil subpoenas this week, said spokeswoman Jamie DePeau, confirming a report in today’s Wall Street Journal.

DePeau would not comment on the nature of the information the Justice Department is seeking from MCI, the nation’s second-largest long-distance telephone company and a major provider of Internet service. She said the company will fully comply with the government’s request.

But the Journal, citing sources close to the investigation, said the subpoenas to the Internet service providers sought documents and contracts with Microsoft.

The government is trying to determine whether the companies agreed to favor Microsoft’s Internet Explorer _ an Internet software browser _ over Netscape Communications’ browser, Netscape Navigator, the Journal reported.

In an October antitrust lawsuit, the Justice Department said Microsoft was using its dominance in the Windows 95 operating system software to unfairly gain market share for its Internet Explorer program.

Microsoft disagrees, saying the two programs are integrated and can’t be separated as the government wants.

An unidentified Microsoft spokesman told the Journal that the company was ``confident″ that the government would find that Microsoft ``is competing fairly and completely within the law.″

Spokesmen for the Justice Department and AOL didn’t immediately return telephone calls seeking comment today.

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