Even before Microsoft unveiled its Hailstorm Web services on Monday, Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner were registering complaints with US antitrust regulators. The companies claim that Hailstorm and other elements of the .net strategy shut out competition to increase Microsoft's domination of IT markets.
Hailstorm is an extension of Microsoft's Passport - currently a consumer-oriented, Web-based e-mail and instant messaging service - to make it more attractive to businesses. The final service, due to launch next year, would provide Outlook messaging features. Part of the service would be provided free but some elements would be paid for.
Sun and AOL say that Microsoft's operating systems will have built-in features to take unfair advantage of the service.