US wants to extend oversight of Microsoft until late 2009

Citing Microsoft Corp. lapses under a landmark antitrust settlement, the Justice Department said Friday it wants to extend by two years its oversight of some of the company's business practices until at least November 2009.

Microsoft has already agreed to the lengthier scrutiny by the Justice Department and 17 states under a proposal that still must be approved by a U.S. judge. The company has struggled with a key provision in the 2002 antitrust settlement requiring it to disclose to its competitors sensitive details about some of its software.

Government lawyers said they were prepared to extend oversight of Microsoft's business activities through 2012 if necessary, reports AP.

According to MSN Money, in documents filed with the federal judge overseeing the settlement, the department said it had sought the extension because Microsoft had run into "protracted delays" in compiling the data that companies need to take advantage of the program.

Microsoft is required to license the information about its computer operating system to other companies under the terms of the antitrust settlement.

The overall settlement is scheduled to expire after five years with the possibility of a two-year extension. In the documents filed with the court, Microsoft agreed to extend the licensing program for an additional two years, to 2009. It pledged to offer the program for another three years, outside the terms of the settlement.

In February, Microsoft responded to earlier complaints about delays by agreeing to disclose more information about the server operating system.

O.Ch.