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Five more years of punishment for Microsoft?

US states push for longer MS antitrust judgment

In addition, the communications protocol program was supposed to be finished early in the judgment's life, and its delays have kept software vendors from fully using the program, Houck said.

"The whole thing... doesn't have an opportunity to work as the court intended," he said. "It's very clear that the product markets at issue in this case have not moved rapidly at all."

Kollar-Kotelly said she would delay final reports on the judgment while she considers the California group's request. Microsoft and the plaintiffs were scheduled to meet with her November 6 to discuss the final reports, but she will now consider the extension request on that date.

Before Houck made his request, the judge said she was opposed to extending the judgment without a good reason. It was hard to predict the impact the judgment would have, she added.

"The final chapter of the final judgment has not been written," Kollar-Kotelly said.

The California group wants Kollar-Kotelly to extend all of section 3 of the judgment except for section 3B, dealing with manufacturer royalties. The extended provision would include:

  • A prohibition against Microsoft retaliating against PC vendors for including competing software on PCs;
  • A prohibition against Microsoft restricting PC vendors from putting competing middleware in the start menu or making them defaults;
  • A requirement that Microsoft give APIs (application programming interfaces) for its middleware to PC vendors and independent software vendors.

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