Justice Department oversight of Microsoft is ending on Thursday, more than a decade after the US authorities filed an historic anti-trust lawsuit against the US software giant.
"Microsoft no longer dominates the computer industry as it did when the complaint was filed in 1998," the Justice Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
As a result, the settlement with the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft known as the "final judgment," which has been in place since 2002, would expire on Thursday, it said.
The settlement stemmed from a 1998 anti-trust suit which alleged the maker of Windows was unlawfully maintaining its monopoly over the market for personal computer operating systems.
The department said the settlement had "prevented Microsoft from continuing to engage in exclusionary behavior that was harmful to American businesses and consumers."
"Nearly every desktop middleware market, from Web browsers to media players to instant messaging software, is more competitive today than it was when the final judgment was entered," it said.
Some provisions in the settlement expired in November 2007 while others had been extended with Microsoft's agreement.
"As these issues have now been resolved, it is appropriate for the final judgment to expire," the Justice Department said.
Microsoft, in a statement, said "our experience has changed us and shaped how we view our responsibility to the industry.
"We are pleased to bring this matter to successful resolution, and we are excited to keep delivering great products and services for our partners and customers," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.
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