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DoJ doesn't want to extend Microsoft antitrust oversight
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 23 October 2007 10:06
DoJ doesn't want to extend Microsoft antitrust oversight

By Ryan Paul | Published: October 22, 2007 - 03:09PM CT
ARS Technica
In a recent filing, the US has stated that it will not ask the court to extend the antitrust sanctions imposed on Microsoft. In contrast, the attorneys general of ten states (the so-called California and New York Groups) have requested extensions.
The sanctions on Microsoft, which are scheduled to expire in November, aim to prevent the company from retaliating against hardware vendors that ship computers with alternatives to Microsoft's software products. An additional set of sanctions mandating interoperability API licensing has already been extended for another two years.

In the filing, the US says that it will not request extensions, but could potentially submit other filings to the court when the requests submitted by the states are evaluated. "The United States will not file a motion to extend its Final Judgment as it does not believe that the standard for such an extension has been met," says the filing. "The United States is prepared to participate in any hearing to resolve the Motions orally and/or in writing, according to the Court's preference. The United States reserves the right to request, on its own initiative, approval from the Court to submit written filings and otherwise to participate as amicus curiae."

Although Microsoft is likely very pleased that the US will not be requesting extensions, the company is annoyed that the government has reserved the right to submit amicus curiae filings. Microsoft's concern seems to be that the involvement of the US in the motions brought by the states could cause unwanted delays. "In light of all this, it is not clear what views, if any, the United States holds regarding the motions to extend—or what, if anything, the United States intends to file as amicus in the States' case, and when, if ever, it intends to do so," Microsoft wrote in its own filing today. "Microsoft and the Moving State Plaintiffs have agreed to make their best efforts, subject to whatever additional factual material Microsoft includes with its October 30 response, so that the Court may hear the motions to extend by November 6. An amicus filing, if any, by the United States, a non-party, should not, we respectfully suggest, be allowed to disrupt the schedule agreed to by the Moving Plaintiff States and Microsoft."

Microsoft has responded to the US statement by requesting that the court require US amicus curiae filings in response to the states' motions to be submitted by the end of the month at the latest.

Microsoft has endured this protracted antitrust squabble for years and is clearly eager to end the legal mess, especially after wrapping up its European antitrust case earlier today and dropping its appeal in South Korea. The company argues that its voluntary commitment to consumer empowerment principles will ensure that interoperability is ensured going forward.

The attorneys general of the California and New York Groups argue that Microsoft's 90 percent operating system market share indicate that the sanctions have failed. The states also believe that Microsoft could still used its dominant Internet Explorer web browser to block adoption of standards-based technologies that threaten to move more applications onto the web and away from the desktop... More    Comments in the Forums  
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