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Not content with its involvement in Microsoft's appeal against an adverse antitrust finding, the US Department of Justice has begun an investigation of the software giant's recent $US135 million investment in struggling software developer Corel. The two companies had said the investment signalled the start of increased collaboration, including joint development, testing and marketing. The DoJ, however, is aware that Corel's WordPerfect suite of office applications competes with Microsoft Office, even though Microsoft controls about 94 per cent of the word processing market, according to IDC. The DoJ is also a major user of WordPerfect, with three-year licences for more than 35,000 PCs.

IBM has sold an SP supercomputer to the US office supplies company Staples Inc. The company will use the machine initially to run a data warehouse for its merchandising department, although applications will later be extended to cover supply chain, inventory management and marketing. The machine runs DB2 Universal Database Enterprise Extended Edition and has 4T-bytes of storage held on IBM's SSA disks. It is capable of scaling up to 512 nodes.

Nortel Networks has won a contract valued at about $US101 million this year to provide a 15,000km optical network spanning regions of north, south and south-west China. A spokesman said the network will provide China Telecom with massive bandwidth, high intelligence, and a flexible platform that will allow the carrier to offer high-performance Internet services. "We are working closely with China Telecom to unleash the potential of the high-performance Internet in China, a Nortel spokesman explained.

To a thumping rock beat Microsoft this week took the wraps off its latest consumer-level operating system, Windows XP. The operating system, which has a strong bias towards running media-rich applications, is expected to be released to the market by the fourth quarter of this year. XP is the first Microsoft operating system for consumers that uses the same code base as Windows 2000 and NT.

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