Be files federal antitrust suit against Microsoft

The second federal antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. to come from an industry competitor was filed Tuesday -- this time from Be Inc., a company that developed an operating system for personal computers and recently sold most of its assets to Palm Inc.

Be, based in Menlo Park, California, alleged "among other claims, that Microsoft harmed Be through a series of illegal exclusionary and anticompetitive acts designed to maintain its monopoly in the Intel-compatible PC operating system market," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Additionally, Be argued that Microsoft "created exclusive dealing arrangements with PC OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) prohibiting the sale of PCs with multiple preinstalled operating systems," the company said.

A U.S. District Court ruled in June 2000 that Microsoft had illegally maintained a monopoly in the market for desktop operating systems, a ruling that was later upheld by a U.S. Court of Appeals.

Be has been mostly acquired by Palm, Microsoft's top competitor in the market for handheld computers.

The antitrust action filed by Be follows a similar lawsuit from Internet browser maker Netscape Communications Corp., a company now owned by Microsoft rival AOL Time Warner Inc. The Be suit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

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