RealNetwork's Rob Glaser isn't the only critic of Microsoft these days. Along with bitter pill Larry Ellison and Lotus CEO Jeff Papows testifying at the Senate antitrust committee hearings this week, other complaints about Microsoft have been raised from an unexpected source: Apple Computer. Once rivals, Microsoft and Apple have entered into a curious post-Cold War alliance that brought timely Microsoft software to the Macintosh and some co-development efforts on Java and media software. But what many people don't realize is that Microsoft tried to prevent Apple from entering the Windows multimedia business last year and now Apple is crying foul.

The problems began when Microsoft asked Apple to stay out of the Windows multimedia market in exchange for Microsoft's endorsement of unnamed Apple software tools. Apple is the creator of the popular QuickTime suite of multimedia tools, and the company rejected the proposal, which sounds eerily similar to a reported deal Microsoft offered Netscape regarding browser software. As a result, the U.S. Department of Justice is now investigating whether these allegations are true and, if so, what charges the company might face as a result.

Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton confirmed that Apple has answered subpoenas from federal investigators and "and \[Apple is\] complying fully." Cotton described the relationship with Microsoft as "professional" and "good."

"Apple has enjoyed a partnership with Microsoft that produced lots of great products in the past year, and as partners we agree on many issues," she said. "And we also disagree from time to time. This is something that is to be expected in a professional partnership, and multimedia is one area where Microsoft and Apple have some disagreements.