The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Apple Computer's attempt to buy Power Computing, formerly the largest maker of Macintosh clones. Both companies are attempting to downplay the investigation, stating that it is simply a routine event and not likely to nix the purchase. According to the companies, any corporate purchase exceeding $15 million is automatically investigated.

"Apple and Power Computing are fully cooperating in what we consider to be a routine investigation," said an Apple spokesperson. "This is not anything unusual."

Power Computing agrees.

"Every indication we have gotten from the agency people we're dealing with is the investigation will be completed in a timely manner, and we expect a positive outcome," said Power Computing's corporate counsel.

But the investigation is deeper than just the Power Computing purchase. The DOJ is looking for information about Apple bundling Microsoft's Internet Explorer with its Mac OS. The investigation may, in fact, really be related to the DOJ's ongoing look at Microsoft, which was accused of abusing its OS monopoly. The DOJ has three weeks to respond to information it received from Power Computing.

In other Apple news, the company plans on revealing a new corporate strategy on Monday. The announcement will center around a new desktop lineup based on the new PowerPC 750 CPU, a new PowerBook laptop, and a new direct sales plan. Apple may reveal its NC strategy as well. We'll have more info about Apple's strategy on Monday