RealTime IT News

DOJ Makes Compliance Visit to Microsoft

Microsoft's antitrust compliance in developing Longhorn, the next-generation Windows operating system, will be part of the Department of Justice's (DoJ) agenda when investigators travel to Redmond next week.

The regularly scheduled quarterly visit is part of ongoing efforts between the DoJ and Microsoft to ensure the company complies with the terms of the landmark 2002 settlement.

As part of that settlement, Microsoft agreed to make it possible for vendors and end users to substitute competing middleware products, such as media players and browsers, connected to the Windows operating system.

While the initial compliance focus has been on Microsoft's current XP operating system, a joint report by the DOJ and Microsoft released earlier this month said the DoJ is also monitoring Microsoft's Longhorn compliance. The report is the first of what will be semi-annual status updates mandated by the settlement agreement.

"Early attention to these issues will enable plaintiffs and Microsoft to address any potential concerns in a timely manner, before the final structure of the product is locked into place," the report states.

At a Monday court hearing in Washington, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who presided over the settlement agreement, said she was pleased with the results of the status report.

"On the whole, it is a positive report. We have a system that's in place that's moving along," Kollar Kotelly said in a brief open court session.

According to the report, the DOJ investigators are also testing Microsoft's upcoming Service Pack 2 for antitrust compliance.

The next version of Microsoft's OS is expected in late 2005 or early 2006, with the next server OS release due 18 months later.

Longhorn will include a new graphics system, now called Avalon; a messaging protocol, which is code named Indigo; and WinFS, which enhances the NTFS file system with technology from SQL Server and Windows SharePoint Services.