The judge hearing nine US states' antitrust complaint against Microsoft reportedly intends to order the software giant to open the source code for its Windows OS (operating system) to the plaintiffs.

According to Sunday's Boston Globe newspaper, District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly told lawyers for both sides that she will order Microsoft to provide the states with access to the source code for Windows, including 2000 and XP. The conversation with the attorneys took place during a conference call Friday, the report claims.

One of the issues in the case has been Microsoft's contention that it is not feasible to sell Windows without such functions as Web browsing bundled in, because stripping out those features would cripple the OS. The states have asked for access to the proprietary code so that a technical adviser could review the code and ascertain the truth of Microsoft's claim.