Microsoft, Justice Agree to Extend Some Oversight

Microsoft and the Justice Department agreed to extend some portions of federal antitrust oversight for 18 months, according to court papers filed Thursday.

Microsoft settled federal antitrust charges in 2002 that it abused its dominance in personal computer operating systems and the court's oversight had been scheduled to end on Nov. 12.

The Justice Department and states involved in the antitrust suit said in the filing, called a joint status report, that the November deadline would not give them enough time to assess whether Microsoft had removed all the errors from the technical information it is required to give potential licensees who write programs for Microsoft's Windows operating system.

"Microsoft has consented to this extension," the parties said in the joint status report.

The 2002 consent decree covers the company's ties to computer makers, how its software works with other types of software and enforcement to ensure it does not repeat past practices.

Microsoft was required to issue licenses for companies which want to write programs for the Windows operating system, and provide technical information about Windows to help make the programs work. The next hearing is set for April 22.