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TECHNOLOGY

Groups Accuse Firm of Overpricing

October 08, 1998| From Times Wire Services

Several consumer groups criticized Microsoft Corp. for what they said were excessive increases in the cost of its operating system that were attributable to a monopoly.

"We estimate that the price of the Windows operating system pre-installed in PCs is about $30 more than it should be," the groups said in a report, "The Consumer Case Against Microsoft."

The Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, the Consumer Project on Technology and the Media Access Project said pre-installed operating systems should have declined in cost over time, not increased to $45 to $60. More than 90% of the world's PCs use Windows.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, also overcharges for its Office package of computer programs used by companies, with prices of $125 to $190, while other applications sell for $10 to $15, the report said.

The consumer groups sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to consider greater regulation of the software industry.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla said the price of many popular Microsoft programs has dropped in recent years, and that its Windows operating system sells for less than many competitors.

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