DoJ, Microsoft Sign Up For Two More Years


The Department of Justice (DoJ) and Microsoft put the final legal touches
Wednesday on their May agreement to extend by two years the communications protocol licensing
program portion of Microsoft’s antitrust agreement with the government.


The original settlement is
due to expire next year, but both the DoJ and Microsoft agreed an additional
two years is necessary for Microsoft to improve licensee technical
documentation.


The DoJ said in May the extension request is not a result of any failure by
Microsoft to comply with the final consent decree.


In Wednesday’s filing to formalize the May extension agreement, the DoJ
stated, “The modifications proposed serve the public interest by ensuring
that the remedies included in the Final Judgment will have their full
intended effect.”


Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who presided over the original antitrust
trial, has indicated she will approve the extension request.


In addition to the two-year extension, Microsoft agreed the DoJ may file for
another three-year extension when the deal expires in 2009.


The original settlement mandates that Microsoft share with rival software
developers certain technology Redmond uses to make its servers interoperable
with client PCs running the Windows operating system.


The consent decree requires Microsoft to provide on reasonable and
non-discriminatory terms technical documentation for competitors to use the
Microsoft technology in their own server products.


In status reports to the court filed by the DoJ since the original
settlement, the government has complained about the quality of Microsoft’s
documentation and the length of time it has taken to produce the material.


In the May agreement, Microsoft said a broader “reset” of the original
settlement timeline would be the best method to resolve differences over the
documentation.

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