Senate Committee To Address XP Concerns

Upset with the software giant's refusal to allow third-party instant messaging and media player applications to ship with Windows XP, Sen. Charles Schumer has called for hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee into Microsoft's "anticompetitive practices." The Committee will investigate the effect the upcoming OS has on Internet competition, and "discuss the possibility of enjoining the release of Windows XP." These latest hearings are slated for September, and will be overseen by Chairman Patrick Leahy.

Sen. Schumer also sent a letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, demanding the company open XP to rival software manufacturers. "If PC makers and consumers can choose their browser in Windows XP, surely they should be able to choose their media player, messenger service and other applications," he wrote.

The decision to hold September hearings comes on the heels of claims that Microsoft is reverting to past anticompetitive practices by forcing OEMs to bundle the company's own software with Windows. Three hearings are planned to evaluate Internet competition, Windows XP, and Redmond's role in the server market.

It is unlikely this decision will impact the October 25 release of Windows XP however, as Microsoft continues to push the envelope despite ongoing lawsuits. Microsoft also recently settled its suit with the sate of New Mexico, and additionally plans to meet with the Department of Justice to discuss a possible settlement.

Unflustered by the accusations, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates recently stated, "We're moving ahead with Windows XP as a product that has the features that consumers want."

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