Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Just When Microsoft Thought It Was Out, the Justice Department Pulls It Back In!


The Microsoft antitrust trial seems like a distant memory, doesn’t it?

Not quite yet to the Justice Department, it seems, which asked the federal judge overseeing the 2002 settlement with federal and state regulators yesterday to extend her oversight of some of the judgment another 18 months.

The Justice Department said it wants that extended to make sure Microsoft fully complies with the requirement that technical documentation to licensees is crackerjack.

And Microsoft (MSFT) has agreed to be under the watch until May, 2011.

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s oversight of the software giant was supposed to run out this November. She must approve the extension.

Here’s the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release on the issue:

Justice Department Requests Extension of Microsoft Final Judgment

Microsoft Agrees to 18-Month Extension, Subject to Court Approval

WASHINGTON, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/–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.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work