Microsoft Gets Two More Years of Court Oversight

Judge says the delays in releasing the technical documentation for the protocol licensing program is behind her decision.

Microsoft has lost another round in antitrust court, with a new ruling extending by two years federal court oversight of the final judgments issued in the landmark U.S. antitrust case against the software giant.

The decision extends those provisions of the final judgments that would have expired in November 2007 to Nov. 12, 2009, and is based on "the extreme and unforeseen delay in the availability of complete, accurate, and useable technical documentation relating to the communications protocols that Microsoft is required to make available to licensees under Section III.E of the Final Judgments," Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in an executive summary of the judgment released Jan. 29.

But the court's decision is less than the five-year extension that seven states -California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Massachusetts-and the District of Columbia had argued for when they claimed Microsoft remained a monopoly.

When the court first entered the final judgments in November 2002, it and the other parties all expected Microsoft to release by February 2003 technical documentation required under Section III.E, the executive summary said.

But that did not happen. "More than five years later, the technical documentation is still not available to licensees in a complete, useable, and certifiably accurate form, despite the fact that III.E was intended to be the -most forward-looking provision' in the Court's remedy," Kollar-Kotelly said.