WASHINGTON (AP) _ Five companies are ganging up to try to end Microsoft's dominance of the cyberworld.

According to The Washington Post, executives from IBM, Netscape Communications, Novell, Oracle and Sun Microsystems have been meeting, sometimes as often as weekly, to share ideas and technology.

The newspaper says the collaboration is driven by more than a simple fear of Microsoft's high-tech dominance. It says unlike Microsoft, the five rivals all share a vision of a new Internet-based platform that would be open to all.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told his shareholders Friday that the level of competition the loosely aligned companies are providing is more intense than anything he's seen in the past.