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Report: Microsoft, DOJ Reach Settlement; States Reviewing

The Department of Justice and Microsoft reached a settlement in the antitrust case in advance of a Friday court deadline, according to published reports. State attorneys general were reviewing the agreement Wednesday night.

The states scuttled an earlier deal between the company and the Clinton Administration Justice Department. Sources told The New York Times that state officials were trying Wednesday night to get the Bush administration officials to negotiate tougher terms than it had agreed to.

Provisions of the tentative settlement, according to the newspaper, include:

  • A five- year consent decree between the government and Microsoft governing the company's conduct, with the possibility of a two- year extension if the company violates the agreement.
  • A three-member advisory committee of independent experts for enforcement.
  • The elimination of restrictive contract terms and pricing deals with PC makers.
  • A requirement that Microsoft share technical information needed for other software or hardware products to work with Windows. Microsoft would have to provide the information in a "secure facility" for software companies and hardware manufacturers who could study the code and ask questions.

    The case has been in mediation for three weeks. Any agreement will not take effect until a federal court approves it.

  • About the Author

    Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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