PracticePeople In PracticeMicrosoft may face anti-trust probe

Microsoft may face anti-trust probe

An as yet unknown accounting software company has submitted a letter to the US Department of Justice calling for an investigation into Microsoft's plans to purchase Great Plains software for $1.1bn (£733m).

The letter was submitted by Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, an Oakland-based law firm, who would not reveal the name of their client, other than to disclose that it was a software start-up based in Silicon Valley.

According to the law firm, the mystery company builds add-on software for accounting systems and views Microsoft’s planned purchase as potentially devastating to its financial security and as a threat to the stability of companies that produce small and midsize applications for the financial software market.

However Jeff Raikes, group vice-president of Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Services Group, remained confident and optimistic that the deal would pass the government’s regulatory scrutiny despite Microsoft’s other ongoing antitrust battle, while CFO John Connors said he expected the deal to be completed by spring.

Microsoft’s bid for Great Plains is similar to one it made for business-diagramming software maker Visio, which it bought for $1.5bn (£1bn) and integrated into the company as the Visio division of Microsoft. Microsoft plans to integrate Great Plains in a similar manner.

An existing antitrust case against Microsoft has reached the Supreme Court where the software giant is in the process of appealing a federal judge’s order to break the company in two. The case is set to resume next month.

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Microsoft in business software move

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