States Request Microsoft Oversight Extension

At a hearing Tuesday regarding the pending expiration of much of Microsoft’s antitrust settlement, a group of states requested continued oversight of the software giant.

Headed by California, and therefore known as “the California Group,” the states are the same group that two weeks ago complained in a filing to the court that the 2002 settlement has not been effective.

The California Group is in opposition to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and another group of states led by New York, and thus named “the New York Group,” which have told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that they believe the settlement has been effective and, with some exceptions, can now wind down.

Indeed, much of the settlement conditions are set to lapse in mid-November. The California Group, however, has asked for a five-year extension to many of the consent decree’s terms.

Though not unexpected, Microsoft did not welcome the California Group’s move.

“We’re a bit surprised that a few states are now requesting an extension of the consent decree, since they indicated just last month that they’re not too fond of it,” company spokesperson Jack Evans said in a statement e-mailed to

Evans declined to comment further. “The appropriate time for us to respond is after we’ve seen any filing supporting this request,” he said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the judge, who reportedly indicated she was skeptical, gave the California Group until October 15 to file its extension proposal in writing. She will hold a hearing in early November to rule on the request, the paper said.

The US proceedings come as Microsoft prepares next Monday to hear the outcome of its appeal of the European Commission’s antitrust ruling against the company.

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