US Gov't Looks to Extend MS Oversight

The U.S. government asked a federal judge Wednesday to extend its oversight of Microsoft by an additional two years, with the option to further extend it through 2012 if necessary. Both parties have come to an agreement that progress on portions of the deal has come too slowly, and government representatives have already expressed their desire to continue the deal.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has said that she would agree to the changes. Under the new terms, set to expire in November 2009, oversight of the program that gives third-party developers access to Windows protocols would be extended, as well that covering technical documentation relating to those protocols.

Like the European Union antitrust case, U.S. regulators have accused the Redmond giant of dragging its feet in providing clear and concise documentation. Server and tools senior vice president Rob Muglia would be put in charge of the project, and would be required by the court to provide regular updates on its status.

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Government officials say Microsoft's foot-dragging on documentation is one of the primary reasons that it asked for the extension. In an attempt to spin things in its favor, the company is promising more than the settlement entails. The company claims that it would allow technical data to be available after the 2009 expiration, as well as licensing access to Windows source code and the opening of a new lab for testing software.

All other portions of the settlement would be permitted to expire next November. In exchange for the new deal, Microsoft has also agreed to not oppose a three-year extension if the government requests it.

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