WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today that it is necessary to extend the term of certain portions of the Microsoft final judgment by at least 18 months. The Department said that an extension is necessary to ensure the quality of the technical documentation Microsoft provides to licensees.
The Department’s Antitrust Division made its views known today as part of its Joint Status Report to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Antitrust Division enforces the final judgment in conjunction with antitrust enforcers from 17 states and the District of Columbia, which along with Microsoft joined in today’s filing with the court.
In 2006, Microsoft agreed to a two-year extension of the communications protocol licensing program contained in Section III.E of the final judgment, along with all of the final judgment’s enforcement provisions. Microsoft also agreed that the Department and state antitrust enforcement agencies may, at their discretion, apply to the court for an additional extension of all or part of the extended provisions of the final judgment for a period of up to three additional years, through November 2012. The United States is exercising its right under this provision to seek an extension of Section III.E and its supporting provisions through May 12, 2011. Without this action, the final judgment would have expired on Nov. 12, 2009.
Section III.E of the final judgment requires that Microsoft make available to competing server software developers, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, certain technology used by Microsoft to make its server operating systems interoperate with client PCs running the Windows operating system. Microsoft must provide licensees with technical documentation that is designed to enable them to use this technology in their own server products so that those products work better with Windows.
In past status reports, the Department reported to the court its concerns with the quality of the technical documentation Microsoft provides to licensees under this program and with the length of time it is taking Microsoft to improve that documentation.
The Department today also submitted the necessary papers to the court for its consideration.