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Microsoft buys back stock

The company repurchased 5.1 million shares of its stock in the open market during its first fiscal quarter, a filing shows.

Microsoft repurchased 5.1 million shares of its stock in the open market during its first fiscal quarter ended September 30, according to a regulatory filing today.

The company said it bought the shares "for issuance to employees under stock option and stock repurchase plans," according to a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Microsoft's buyback program "has not kept pace with employee stock option grants or exercises," it said.

As for its antitrust case with the Justice Department (DOJ) and 20 states, Microsoft reiterated that "the claims are without merit, and [it] is defending against them vigorously."

The filing added: "In other ongoing investigations, the DOJ and several state attorneys general have requested information from Microsoft concerning various issues." It didn't identify them.

"Although revenue was not significant, sales of WebTV-based Internet X terminals and WebTV service and preinstallations of Windows CE by OEMs on intelligent devices were strong in 1998," the document stated. Interactive media and other revenues was $316 million for the first fiscal quarter, down "slightly" from the comparable quarter a year ago.

The software company's investment portfolio totaled $17.24 billion as of September 30. "Microsoft's cash and short-term investments are available for strategic investments, mergers, and acquisitions, other potential large-scale cash needs that may arise, and to fund an increased stock buyback program over historical levels to reduce the dilutive impact of the company's employee stock option and purchase programs," the filing said.