According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, it is unlikely that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will attempt to block the sale of Microsoft's upcoming operating system, Windows 98. The DOJ, however, refused to comment.
"Because it's an open matter, I won't have a comment, in order to protect the investigation," a spokesman for the Justice Department said.
The DOJ is currently investigating Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows 95. Unlike Windows 95, Windows 98--which will go on sale June 25th--will only be sold with the Internet Explorer components, which Microsoft says are completely integrated with the operating system. The DOJ feels that Microsoft's bundling of IE with Windows 95 is a violation of the 1995 consent decree the company signed. Since Microsoft released Internet Explorer 3.0 in 1996, rival Netscape has lost significant marketshare in the Web browser market.
"We are working very closely with \[the DOJ\], cooperating with them, trying to make sure they have all information they need to review these issues," Microsoft spokesperson Mark Murray said. "We are optimistic that they will agree in the end that Internet Explorer is an integrated part of Windows 98."
Despite walking away from Windows 98, the Wall Street Journal report also states that the DOJ is expanding its antitrust case against Microsoft. No details are yet available