Week in Review: Microsoft <I>really</I> makes headlines this time

The week started with a bang as U.S.

The week started with a bang as U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno went on the offensive, saying that Microsoft violated a 1995 consent decree barring Bill's band from anticompetitive licensing practices.

The Department of Justice asked a federal court to fine Microsoft $1 million a day until the alleged violations were remedied.

The DOJ said that Microsoft forces PC makers to favor Internet Explorer over other browsers by tying it to Windows 95 licenses. The Redmondites beg to differ, arguing that IE is part of the operating system. They're set to respond formally to the charges next week.

Compaq, Gateway, Micron Electronics and others told the DOJ how Microsoft refused to let them remove IE or the IE icon from the Windows 95 operating system. Micron later backed off a bit from its statement.

Microsoft was having none of it. "We have a contract that states that all OEMs are required to deliver a consistent Windows experience," said Greg Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft. "IE is a function of Windows. If we let OEMs do what they want, then we would have a balkanization of the OS, like Unix."

Speaking of being pushy, PointCast Inc., which pushed its way to fame with a fresh way to deliver data over the Web, named a new CEO Friday. David Dorman of Pacific Bell fame got the nod.

The move by the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company ended a nearly five-month search for a successor to Chris Hassett, who founded PointCast and remains chairman.

Meanwhile, AOL is mad as hell, and it doesn't wanna take it anymore.

For the second time this month, America Online Inc. has sued a spammer. Spammers, or junk E-mail providers, have become such a concern that AOL officials say the industry is nearing a consensus on establishing guidelines to protect online service and ISP customers from unsolicited missives.

On any given day, spam can make up as much as 30 percent of the mail traffic generated on AOL, and that's a lotta spam, folks.

It was a week to forget for financial markets across the globe. On Friday, Intel Corp.'s postponement of a new plant in Texas helped send the broader markets into a funk.

The stocks for semiconductors and semiconductor equipment took the bulk of abuse as the NASDAQ closed down 20.33 points to 1650.92, while the Dow lost 132.36 points to close at 7715.41.

Check these stories and more in Headline Scan.


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