"Microsoft continues to have a stranglehold on the two products, Windows and [Internet Explorer], that almost all consumers use for accessing these Web services and applications," Stephen Houck, a lawyer for the California group representing the states told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
Two weeks ago, the group files papers, which contained no such request. Today's move thus comes as quite a surprise. A month ago, the California group said the decree had been ineffective at reducing Redmond's dominance.
"These are the same plaintiffs who in August issued a filing saying they didn't like the decree," said Rick Rule, an attorney for Microsoft. "Now they're asking for it to be extended."
Because of the last-minute nature of the request, the judge has given the California group until Oct. 15 to make a written proposal. Microsoft must request a response date by Oct. 19.
"The California group is facing a difficult burden in persuading the court to extend the decree," said Andrew I. Gavil, a Howard University law professor and co-author of a book on Microsoft's antitrust case. "The terms of the decree say they have to prove to the court that Microsoft has engaged in 'willful and systematic violations' of the decree."
The judge has said that market share is not the correct measure of the settlement's effectiveness. The goal is not to reduce market share but to curb anticompetitive practices, she said.