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Go files antitrust suit against Microsoft

Founder of pen computing pioneer claims Microsoft illegally tried to thwart Go's attempt to enter the PC operating system market.

The founder of pen computing pioneer Go filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft, claiming that the software giant violated antitrust laws by trying to thwart Go's attempt to enter the PC operating system market.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by S. Jerrold Kaplan, Go's founder.

"Microsoft undertook to 'kill' Go by resorting to many of the same collusive and exclusionary tactics Microsoft used against Netscape, Sun, Novell...and others," according to the complaint, which was seen by CNET News.com.

The lawsuit also claims that Microsoft stole Go technology, that the company threatened Intel, which had invested in Go, and that it used "incentives and threats" to coerce Compaq, Fujitsu, Toshiba and other computer makers not to use Go's operating system.

Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake rejected Kaplan's assertions.

"These claims date back nearly 20 years," Drake said on Friday. "They were baseless then and they are baseless now."

Drake noted that handwriting recognition technology "had severe limitations in the late 1980s and early 1990s."

While Microsoft's original pen-enabled version of Windows stirred little interest, the company has continued to pursue handwriting recognition as a means of computer input, most recently with its Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

The suit came as Microsoft resolved yet another of its outstanding antitrust matters, announcing on Friday that it has made an $850 million deal with IBM. The company has also settled antitrust claims with Sun Microsystems, AOL Time Warner, Gateway, Be and others.

The ill-fated Go was merged into an AT&T subsidiary in 1994. The company's claims were assigned to Lucent in 1996 when that company was split off from AT&T. Kaplan regained the rights to Go's claims in April, according to the lawsuit.