Microsoft Remains Untrustworthy

Tuesday, District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly extended the court's antitrust oversight of Microsoft an additional two years , until Nov. 12, 2009. The two year extension came because Microsoft hasn't yet turned over technical documentation required by the consent decree from 2002.

The states who were party to the antitrust lawsuit wanted a five year extension due to concerns Microsoft will turn to it's old ways of bullying hardware manufactures and intertwine applications with the Windows operating system.

Why hasn't Microsoft turned over the required documentation? Is this more legal maneuvering, giving Microsoft time to pull some shenanigans on the courts and competitors? Only time will tell.

Many things have changed since the 2002 consent degree, settling the state's antitrust suit against Microsoft. Vista has shipped, Microsoft is in the search engine business, Sliverlight is now around looking to gain supporters, virtualization is all the rage, and Windows Live apps and online services strategy have begun to unfold.

Windows On Demand apps could actually give Microsoft some clean room to operate, making a clear separation between applications (online) and the underlying operating system running on the user's machine. We'll see whether Microsoft leverages this clean separation of application and OS, but if the past is any indicator of the future (which it usually is), it's not likely Microsoft has suddenly got religion on the subject.

Current and future complaints against Microsoft could fan the flames, keeping the current court antitrust oversight in place or even escalating it to further investigations. The US courts in my opinion seem to have forgotten that antitrust and anti-competitive behaviors by megalomaniac companies like Microsoft are what enforcing the antitrust laws are all about. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you view this), the EUC has shown they have the stomach to take on Microsoft more forcefully and smackdown antitrust behaviors. Let's hope this political election season renews interests in having a fair playing field for Microsoft and it's competitors. There's a lot of ground that needs catching up.

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