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More U.S. states urge extension of Microsoft antitrust settlement

Four states have changed their views on the extension

By Nancy Gohring
October 19, 2007 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Four states that recently said the U.S. government judgment in the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case has done its job have made an about-face and joined other states asking for an extension of the agreement.

New York, Maryland, Louisiana and Florida asked the court to extend the term of the judgment for another five years, according to a filing they made with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday. The states join California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in asking for the extension.

As recently as August, the states -- led by New York -- said the judgment was achieving its goal of fostering competition.

Now they've changed their tune. "An extension is appropriate to assure that marketplace participants have sufficient opportunity to establish positions to compete against Microsoft, an entrenched monopolist," they wrote in the filing.

Microsoft's "well-known difficulties" complying with parts of the judgment have hurt the chances for more competition in the market, they wrote. The filing also states that the pace of technological development of the overall operating system market hasn't moved as fast as expected when the judgment was written, so removing oversight of the judgment now would impair the chances of potential competitors.

The states suggest that extending the judgment shouldn't unduly harm Microsoft, since the company said in a case brought by the European Commission that the settlement in the U.S. hadn't negatively affected its incentive to innovate.

In response to the filing by the latest group of states to weigh in, Microsoft reiterated comments it made after the filing earlier this week by the California group.

"We believe the consent decree has served its purpose," Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. "Microsoft has worked hard to implement the decree's requirements and has changed its practices as a result."

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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