U.S. looks to extend oversight of Microsoft business practices due to antitrust settlement lapses

“Citing Microsoft Corp.’s lapses under part of a landmark antitrust settlement, the Justice Department said Friday it wants to extend by two years its oversight of some of the company’s business practices until at least November 2009. Microsoft has already agreed to the lengthier scrutiny by the department and 17 states under a proposal that still must be approved by a U.S. judge. The company has struggled with a key provision in the 2002 antitrust settlement requiring it to disclose to its competitors sensitive details about some of its software,” Ted Bridis reports for The Associated Press.

“Government lawyers said they were prepared to extend oversight of Microsoft’s business activities through 2012 if they deem it necessary. In court papers filed Friday, they described Microsoft’s efforts under parts of the settlement as ‘disappointing’ and ‘not very encouraging,’ but they also said Microsoft’s failures were neither willful nor systematic,” Bridis reports. “Lawyers said there was little chance U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly would reject the proposed extension because she has expressed concerns in recent years about Microsoft complying with that part of the settlement, which she has described as among its most important requirements.”

Full article here.

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  1. “The company has struggled with a key provision in the 2002 antitrust settlement requiring it to disclose to its competitors sensitive details about some of its software . . .”

    I don’t think “struggle” is the right verb. Refused? Denied? Ignored?
    They’ve never admitted wrongdoing. Beware flying chairs.

    MW: money, how appropriate.

  2. The DOJ has done next to NOTHING in regards the Microsoft “settlement”. Microsoft was completely let off the hook by the “pro-business” attitude of the Bush administration.

    The EU has done more. Some of the States have tried to do more.

    What good will the extra time do unless they actually DO something to punish and keep MS in line.

    ironically, it seems that MS is doing a great job of beating itself when you look at the joke that is Longhorn/Vista.

  3. Mr. Reeee, M$ had to divert precious development dollars to political contributions in the U.S. Now they are looking at making additional “investments” in Europe. Their product quality problems may have to continue for awhile.

  4. Actually, M$ was let off the hook by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals which unanimously overturned the original decisions against Microsoft. The DOJ had been trying the case since the late eighties, spending millions of taxpayer dollars, and had failed to produce a guilty verdict that could stand up to appeal.

    Just say “I hate Bush”, if that makes you feel cool, but don’t try to blame him for M$. If you want someone to blame, try the lame-ass prosecutors who couldn’t put together a decent case in 12 years.

  5. At one time GM so dominated the US car market that the DoJ seriously considered breaking it up. They had over 75% of the entire US market, not domestic– total. Now GM is struggling to keep the 22-23% it has and has debts and obligations (unfunded pensions) greater than the total value of it’s assets. That is being worth more dead than alive.

    The company kicking it’s ass worldwide in marketshare, profit and every other way started it’s life out as a sewing machine maker and had less than a 1% US market share when GM had 75+%. The company is Toyota.

    The moral of this story is that the worm does turn, just not always as fast as we would like it to.

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