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Justice Dept., Microsoft agree to extension of oversight

U.S. antitrust regulators will continue monitoring Microsoft for up to another 18 months. Meanwhile, company reportedly receives an extension to respond to European antitrust regulators in their case.

Microsoft reportedly is juggling two extensions involving its antitrust woes with regulators in the U.S. and Europe.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that Microsoft has agreed to remain under its watch for up to another 18 months, designed to allow antitrust regulators to continue monitoring the company's efforts to share interoperability information with its rivals, who develop products that use the software giant's Windows operating system.

The Justice Department is exercising its right to extend its monitoring ability through May 12, 2011, rather than letting it expire on November 12 of this year.

According to a Justice Department statement:

The final judgment requires that Microsoft make available to competing server software developers, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, certain technology used by Microsoft to make its server operating systems inter-operate with client PCs running the Windows operating system. Microsoft must provide licensees with technical documentation that is designed to enable them to use this technology in their own server products so that those products work better with Windows.

In past status reports, the Department reported to the court its concerns with the quality of the technical documentation Microsoft provides to licensees under this program and with the length of time it is taking Microsoft to improve the documentation.

The extension request is part of the quarterly joint-status report Microsoft and the Justice Department provide to the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. The court has the final say in signing off on the Justice Department's extension request.

Microsoft, meanwhile, reportedly gained an additional week with its deadline to respond to European antitrust regulators in their case against the software giant, according to a report in the Register.

Microsoft reportedly will now have until April 28 to respond to the European Commission, which in mid-January issued objections to the company's bundling of its browser in its operating system.

This latest extension is Microsoft's second. The previous deadline for the software giant to respond to the European Commission was April 21.