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is under the microscope again, as the

Justice Department

is investigating the company's alliance with



, along with the software maker's plans to buy

Great Plains

, according to a published report.

The Justice Department is looking into competitive issues that could arise in the field of office software packages including word processing, spreadsheets and graphics, according to the

The Wall Street Journal

. Corel's


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is available on


, a computer operating system that competes with Microsoft's


. Microsoft already has more than 90% of the market for office software packages.

Shares of Microsoft were down 69 cents, or 1.2%, to $57.50 in recent



Three weeks ago, the department subpoenaed Microsoft's internal documents dealing with the $135 million investment in Ottawa-based Corel. The department is also looking into the pending $1.1 billion buyout of Great Plains, a business software company.

"We are complying and cooperating with the government to provide them with any information they need and request,'' Microsoft said, according to reports. "This is a very narrow legal request and we believe there are no legal issues here that should be of any concern, but we are working to address any concerns the government may have."

The current investigation follows the highly publicized case in which a judge ruled that Microsoft had violated antitrust laws relating to its Web browser business and must be split into two separate companies. Microsoft is currently appealing the ruling.

In separate news, the Redmond, Wash., company named Rick Belluzzo, 47, president and chief operating officer. He will replace Robert Herbold, 58, the current chief operating officer, who is retiring from the post, but will remain with the company in a part-time capacity. Belluzzo joined the company in September 1999. He was previously chief executive of

Silicon Graphics