The Final Judgments from the antitrust case against Microsoft are due to expire on November 12, thus putting an end to the whole drawn-outaffair. Now, though, the states say that they need more time to argue for an extension of court oversight, and Microsoft has agreed to extend the Final Judgments through January 31, 2008. A judge has just signed off on the change.
The federal government has already indicated that it will not seek the court's permission to extend oversight of Microsoft when the terms expire, but some states want the scrutiny to continue.
The states are split into two groups, dubbed the "New York Group" and the "California Group," and a subset of these two groups has already made clear to the court that it is not happy with how the remedies against Microsoft have workedout. Microsoft has also agreed that November 12 doesn't provide enough time to brief the states' motions and for the court to rule, and it's open tothe (short) extension.
The states believe that Microsoft's still-massive market share of the desktop OS market shows that the court-ordered remedies were less than effective, and they still see a danger in the company's control of the dominant web browser. As applications migrate to the web, Microsoft remains in a position to block or cripple certain standards from emerging as threats to the company (thoughMicrosoft has shown itself far more open to interoperable standards over the last few years).
The states and Microsoft filed a joint motion today with Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly asking forthe extension; she signed it this afternoon. The order grants the parties an extension "for so long as necessary" with a firm deadline of January 31, 2008.
Microsoft has been in a conciliatory mood when it comes to antitrust dealings lately, choosing to accept the recent ruling from the EU's Court of First Instance and dropping an appeal in South Korea. It's apparently in no mood to rock the boat in the US, either.