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States alter Microsoft penalties

The nine states still pursuing the antitrust case modify their proposal for penalties against the company in response to criticism that it would create confusion in the computer industry.

WASHINGTON--The nine states still pursuing the Microsoft antitrust case modified on Monday their proposal for penalties against the company in response to criticism that it would create confusion in the computer industry.

The states, including California, Connecticut and Iowa, said the changes would make it clear that Microsoft would not be required to sell several different versions of its Windows operating system.

Instead, the company would have to sell just one "modular" version from which software features such as browsers, media players and instant messengers could be removed, according to a statement from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The states' modifications come only four days after Microsoft and the Justice Department made "refinements" to their proposed settlement of the case.

A hearing on the proposed settlement is scheduled to begin Wednesday. Further proceedings are due to start next week on the non-settling states' demands for stricter sanctions against Microsoft for violating U.S. antitrust laws.

Story Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.