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Lawmakers, experts plan Microsoft forum

A group of liberal lawmakers is the latest to jump on the anti-Microsoft bandwagon, scheduling a forum for Friday that will discuss the effect the company has on consumers.

A group of liberal representatives is the latest to jump on the anti-Microsoft bandwagon, scheduling a forum for Friday that will discuss the effect the company has on consumers.

The House Congressional Progressive Caucus is organizing the event, titled "Microsoft on Trial: How a Monopoly Hurts Consumers." The panel is expected to include consumer advocates, college students, and conservative antitrust experts. The forum will be hosted by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio.

Kucinich "has a legitimate concern that Microsoft's practices are distorting the marketplace and [that] Microsoft is seeking a world in which competition is based on exclusive or restrictive contracts and not competing on price and quality," said a spokesman for the representative.

Despite the strong words, the spokesman said the forum was likely to include Microsoft supporters. "You'll likely see some members show up with a different opinion," the spokesman said. "There will be some back and forth." Microsoft was not invited to participate, the person said.

Microsoft representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Unlike the Senate, whose Judiciary Committee has held three hearings exploring and criticizing Microsoft's business practices, the House has remained quiet on the issue. The caucus, however, carries less weight than a congressional committee.

Forum participants are expected to be named on Thursday.