( dpa ) - The antitrust oversight of Microsoft that was originally scheduled to expire last year has been extended to November 2009, according to court filings.
The oversight, was part of the 2002 antitrust settlement between the software giant and the US government stemming from allegations that the company illegally used its dominant position to quash rival internet browser Netscape.
The decision by US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington late Tuesday came in response to a request by a group of states, including California and New York, to extend the oversight decree to 2012, arguing that Microsoft still unfairly dominates the PC software market.
In a filed order, the judge partially granted the states' request, citing "the extreme and unforeseen delay in the availability of complete, accurate and useable technical documentation... Microsoft is required to make available."
"As such, the court shall extend until November 12, 2009 those provisions of the final judgments that have not yet been extended," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
She added that the lengthening "should not be viewed as a sanction against Microsoft," just a way to give the decree more time to work. Microsoft had been "overwhelmingly cooperative," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith said in a statement: "We will continue to comply fully with the consent decree. We are gratified that the court recognized our extensive efforts to work cooperatively with the large number of government agencies involved."
The development came two weeks after the European Commission said it will investigate claims from Microsoft's rivals that the company has not shared interoperability information for products, including its dominant Office software suite, and unfairly bundles its Internet-browsing software with the Windows operating system.