.NET Authors: Michael Bushong, Tad Anderson, Ivan Antsipau, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

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States Want Microsoft Consent Decree Extended

The states say they want to be sure Vista complies with the consent decree

The so-called California Group, the hardcore collection of state attorneys general who fought Microsoft's 2002 antitrust settlement with the US government down to the wire, has, as expected, asked the court to extend its oversight of the company until 2012, five years past the November 12 deadline when the consent decree (or at least most of it) is supposed to end.

The states say they want to be sure Vista complies with the consent decree. The Justice Department, which has little use for the California Group, says it does.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she'd consider the states' request and gave them until October 15 to put their proposal in writing explaining its terms and rationale but told them any extension would have be for an "identifiable purpose."

The states, including California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, are upset that the consent decree, which they criticized last month as "one of the great debacles in the history of public antitrust enforcement," didn't diminish Microsoft's monopoly any. The judge told them at a status hearing Tuesday that it wasn't supposed to, merely correct anti-competitive practices.

California, in particular, where most of Microsoft's enemies live, wants oversight of the protocol part of the settlement, already extended to November of 2009, pushed out to 2012.

Microsoft attorney Rick Rule was quoted by the Washington Post as scoffing, "These are the same plaintiffs who in August issued a filing saying they didn't like the decree. Now they're asking for it to be extended."

There will be a final hearing on Microsoft's compliance on November 6.

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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