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May 12, 2006

US DOJ asks for two year Microsoft antitrust oversight extension

Posted by David Hunter at 10:01 PM ET.

Grant Gross at PC World:

The U.S. Department of Justice asked a U.S. judge today to extend parts of a Microsoft antitrust order for at least two years because of the company’s delays in supplying technical documentation to licensees of its communications protocols.

Microsoft agreed with the DOJ’s request to extend the order two years beyond its scheduled expiration in November 2007, the company said in a statement. The company has also agreed to allow the DOJ and 17 state plaintiffs in the antitrust case to ask for an additional three-year extension if they still have complaints about Microsoft documentation.

The request came in a report to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the judge overseeing compliance in the US Microsoft antitrust case. Todd Bishop links to the full report and notes that it also reveals that the government has dismissed Google’s concern with the IE7 search box.

Concerning the documentation itself, Aaron Ricadela at InformationWeek notes the familiar refrain:

Microsoft is in trouble on both sides of the Atlantic for failure to publish a workable guide for letting other companies’ server software work well with Windows.

and a new solution:

According to the Department’s court filing, Microsoft assigned the senior VP of its servers and tools business, Bob Muglia, to analyze the documentation problem and try to produce a new draft of the guide to Microsoft’s server communications protocols that would satisfy rivals and federal regulators. But “Mr. Muglia and his team ultimately concluded that the current process of trying to fix issues…one at a time was unlikely,” the filing said. Now, according to the court paper, “Microsoft will rewrite substantial portions of the documentation.” As part of the Justice Department’s extended oversight of the company, Microsoft has agreed to keep Muglia in charge of the project until it’s done, or the court orders otherwise. Microsoft has also agreed to make Muglia available for updates to the court.

Microsoft issued a statement Friday in which it said it would license its communications protocols even after the court order expires, as well as make its engineers available to licensees for technical assistance.

There are more details in the Microsoft statement.

Filed under Antitrust, Bob Muglia, Executives, General Business, Governmental Relations, IE7, Internet Explorer, Legal, Microsoft

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One Response to “US DOJ asks for two year Microsoft antitrust oversight extension”

  1. US judge OKs two more years of Microsoft antitrust oversight -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] As expected, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved the two year extension of Microsoft antitrust oversight by the Department of Justice that had been requested by both parties. She wasn’t exactly a pushover though: U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly also pressed the Justice Department to defend its conclusion that Microsoft did not violate antitrust laws over the design of its upcoming Internet Explorer Web browser software. … “I couldn’t quite figure out how it got resolved and why it wasn’t a problem,” the judge said. She appeared satisfied after a Justice Department lawyer, Renata Hesse, described how easy it was for consumers and computer makers to direct the browser software to use search technology other than Microsoft’s. … Government lawyers said they were prepared to extend oversight of Microsoft’s business activities through 2012 if they deem it necessary. In court papers, they had described Microsoft’s efforts under parts of the settlement as “disappointing” and “not very encouraging,” but they also said Microsoft’s failures were neither willful nor systematic. … Kollar-Kotelly expressed concerns that Microsoft will devote sufficient attention to its obligations under the U.S. antitrust settlement even as it faces related pressures from its court fight with the European Commission. [...]

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