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Microsoft watch continues

The Justice Department is continuing to monitor Microsoft's adherence to a consent decree issued last year, the government's first public comment on the company's status since new antitrust charges.

Assistant Attorney General Anne Bingaman said the Justice Department is continuing to monitor Microsoft's adherence to a consent decree issued last year, the government's first public comment on the company's status since new antitrust charges were raised last week.

Bingaman said "there has been an on-going investigation" of Microsoft, according to a report by Reuters news service. It remained unclear, however, whether that probe has expanded or intensified since the new allegations were leveled by Netscape Communications.

In a letter to the Justice Department last week, Netscape outlined several charges against Microsoft, which it says is unfairly leveraging its dominance in operating systems to monopolize the Web browser market. Microsoft vehemently denies the charges.

Bingaman made her comments in response to a reporter's question at a press conference on new antitrust guidelines for the health care industry. The assistant attorney general has been a key figure in previous Microsoft cases and was instrumental in blocking the company's proposed merger with Intuit last year.

Bingaman plans to retire later this year.

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