US DOJ requests more time for Microsoft oversight

Apr 16, 2009 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- The Justice Department asked a federal judge Thursday to extend its watch over some of Microsoft Corp.'s business practices for a second time, saying it needs an extra year and a half to make sure Microsoft's antitrust compliance passes muster.

Microsoft, the federal government and 17 states agreed in 2002 to settle an antitrust battle over the software maker's use of its monopoly to squash competitors.

The terms of the settlement were initially to expire in November 2007, but U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted a two-year extension covering parts of the agreement. Now the Justice Department wants to extend that to May 2011.

agreed to the extension request. Kollar-Kotelly is expected to address it in a status conference in Washington on Wednesday.

The antitrust settlement requires Microsoft to produce a how-to manual for outside companies that license Microsoft's server software and other programs, explaining how the servers communicate with Windows personal computers. Microsoft is also required to document how various parts of these systems can be used together.

According to a status report released Thursday, Microsoft's documentation efforts are almost done. The company has been barred from charging royalties for the technology until the documentation reaches a certain level of quality, and the report said Microsoft might reach that point by the end of this year. The technical committee that reviews the documentation will continue to scrutinize the materials and work with Microsoft on changes through the term of the extension.

The government also wants to extend its oversight of the way that Windows gives PC makers and users a way to install non-Microsoft Web browsers and media players and set them as defaults.

The Redmond, Wash.-based is readying its newest PC operating system, Windows 7, for launch in less than a year. Microsoft has added control panel options to turn off , Windows and Microsoft's hard-drive search software, possibly in response to antitrust concerns.

Microsoft and the Justice Department also agreed Thursday that when the extension is up, the government can't ask for more time to review an operating system than hasn't gone on sale. That means if the version after Windows 7 hasn't been released by May 2011, it won't be subject to antitrust scrutiny under the 2002 agreement.

Shares of Microsoft added 93 cents, or 4.9 percent, to close at $19.76.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Emails show Microsoft's Vista problems

Feb 29, 2008

E-mails suggest Microsoft executives struggled to make Windows Vista work on their own computers after it was released, a published report said.

German regulators fine Microsoft for price-fixing

Apr 10, 2009

(AP) -- Antitrust regulators fined Microsoft Corp.'s German subsidiary 9 million euros ($11.8 million) and said the world's largest software maker illegally influenced retail prices for its Office 2007 programs.

India State to Dump Windows for Linux

Aug 31, 2006

(AP) -- A southern Indian state plans to switch all school computers from Microsoft Windows to the free Linux operating system, an official said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

14 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

States ascend into the cloud

21 hours ago

Seven years ago, the state of Delaware started moving computer servers out of closets and from under workers' desks to create a consolidated data center and a virtual computing climate.

Microsoft drops Nokia name from smartphones

23 hours ago

Microsoft said Friday it was dropping the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphones, rebranding following the acquisition earlier this year of the Finnish group's handset division.

Amazon's loss makes holidays a question mark

23 hours ago

Amazon's trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world's largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Apr 16, 2009
disabling of these items has always been possible....since Windows 9x in fact....