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Judge Extends Microsoft Timeframe

A federal judge extends timeframe for considering several states' arguments for five additional years of oversight of Microsoft's competitive practices.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has extended the timeframe for considering several states' arguments for five additional years of oversight of Microsoft Corp.'s competitive practices, and the software maker's arguments against that extension.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly also extended parts of the consent decree -- part of the 2002 antitrust settlement, which is set to expire Nov. 12 -- to no later than Jan. 31, 2008, to allow time to consider the arguments made by both sides.

Two separate groups of states filed motions last week asking Kollar-Kotelly to monitor Microsoft through 2012.

In one court filing, the states of New York, Maryland, Louisiana and Florida said they were concerned that the oversight may not have "enough traction to enhance long-term competition" among makers of computer operating systems.

Kollar-Kotelly gave Microsoft until Nov. 6 to oppose the motions, a week longer than the original deadline.

The judge gave the U.S. government a Nov. 9 deadline to submit an amicus brief, and said the states must file additional responses by Nov. 16. She also canceled a status hearing that was slated for Nov. 6.

The antitrust settlement reached among Microsoft, the federal government and 17 states barred the software maker from certain anticompetitive behaviors and sought to keep it from using its operating system monopoly to quash competition in other types of software.

Shares of the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker added $1, or 2.9 percent, to close at $35.57.

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