DOJ wants Microsoft antitrust oversight extended into 2011

The oversight on Microsoft's antitrust settlement is set to expire this year, but the US Department of Justice has asked for it to be extended until 2011 so that Microsoft has more time to tie up the loose ends. Microsoft, unsurprisingly, feels that the project is almost finished.

By Jacqui Cheng | Last updated April 17, 2009 11:39 AM CT

The US Department of Justice has asked for yet another extension to the judicial oversight of Microsoft's antitrust compliance in order to give the company more time to update its technical documentation. The original judgment had already been extended once to late 2009, but now the DOJ wants it extended again for another 18 months.

The sanctions on Microsoft, which were agreed to in 2002 and originally set to expire in November 2007, are aimed at preventing the company from retaliating against hardware vendors that ship computers with alternatives to Microsoft's software products. An additional set of sanctions mandating interoperability API licensing had already been extended for another two years. When it came time for the decree to be lifted, however, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly decided that Microsoft failed to provide protocol specification documents to competitors as required by the agreement. Because of this, she extended the oversight until November of 2009.

In a document filed with Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Thursday, the DOJ requested another extension to her oversight of Microsoft's antitrust settlement, apparently because it feels Microsoft still has a ways to go before meeting the requirements. At the same time, a joint status report from Microsoft and the plaintiffs states that all parties seem to think that things are almost ready. "It is clear to Plaintiffs that Microsoft has made substantial progress in improving the technical documentation over the last two years," reads the report. "While the entire project has taken longer than any of the parties anticipated, the project is nearly complete."

The request marks a reversal of the DOJ's previous position that it took in 2007 when it decided not to ask for an extension of the settlement while the attorneys general of ten states (the so-called California and New York Groups) pushed for extensions. At that time, the DOJ stated that it didn't believe that the standard for such an extension had been met, but that's apparently not the case this time around. The DOJ said in its report that it believes 18 months is plenty of time for Microsoft to finish up without it having to grant further extensions.

Further reading:

DOJ Asks for Extension of Microsoft Antitrust Judgment

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