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Friday, July 1, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Antitrust suit filed against Microsoft

By Bloomberg News

The founder of Go Corp., which made handheld computers controlled by a pen and went out of business in 1994, filed an antitrust lawsuit claiming Microsoft drove the company out of business.

Jerrold Kaplan's suit said Microsoft withheld technical information and discouraged investments in Go Corp. because Microsoft perceived Go's operating system, called PenPoint, as a threat to Windows. So-called Pen PCs used handwriting-recognition software that took commands from styluses on touch screens instead of keyboards.

Go was acquired by AT&T in 1994 and shut down that same year, the complaint says. Kaplan's lawsuit says Microsoft's plan to drive Go out of business was revealed last year in documents that were part of a separate antitrust case against Microsoft in Minnesota.

"These claims date back nearly 20 years. They were baseless then and they are baseless now," said Stacy Drake, a Microsoft spokeswoman. "Handwriting recognition had severe limitations in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and no company that attempted pen computers was successful."

Mark Ostrau, an antitrust attorney at Fenwick & West in Mountain View, Calif., who isn't involved in the case, said Go must persuade a judge to waive the statute of limitations by showing that Microsoft suppressed information and its unlawful actions continue.

"Often it's not very successful," Ostrau said. "It can be difficult finding very old documents and getting accurate recollections about things that happened a long time ago."

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company




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