The attorneys generals from 12 states in the United States will file a joint action against Microsoft Corporation within the next two weeks, in an attempt to stop the company from shipping Windows 98. With the unparalleled move, the states will seek a preliminary injunction against Microsoft while they investigate its allegedly anti-competitive practices. At this time, Microsoft is expected to complete development of Windows 98 soon and ship it to hardware manufacturers by mid-May for a June 25th release to the general public.

In a preemptive move against the states, Microsoft has called upon its closest allies--those companies that license Windows--to publicly support the company and ask the states to reconsider.

"We are sure that once \[the states' attorneys generals\] have had a chance to look at the documents \[they requested\], they will realize that Microsoft is in a competitive marketplace and has done nothing wrong," said Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan.

Sources close to the case say that states are very, very close to filing the suit.

"It is coming to the end," said a confidential source. You would not be too far off the beaten path \[if you thought action would occur within two weeks\]."

The joint investigation by the states has been going on for almost a year now and any action they take against Microsoft would come before a possible antitrust case from the US DOJ, which has been trying to build a bigger case against Microsoft's anti-competitive practices.

Microsoft says that state action would not be enough to stop the release of Windows 98.

"Knowing everything we know, Windows 98 will be released on time on June 25," said Mike Murray, another Microsoft spokesperson. "There is no legal basis or consumer benefit to blocking the release of Windows 98...thousands of companies have built their 1998 business plans and made investments around the release of Windows 98.