WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- The Justice Department asked a federal judge Thursday to enter a final judgment ending its massive antitrust suit against Microsoft.
The department and nine states earlier settled the case with the software giant, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly must also give her approval.
Critics of the settlement, including a handful of states that are continuing their antitrust suit against Microsoft, contend it does not go far enough to curb the company's anticompetitive conduct.
For instance, the settlement does not try to break up the company. A ruling by a different judge earlier in the case broke the company in two -- its Windows division and the remaining applications would have become separate competing companies -- but that earlier ruling was reversed on appeal.
Under the settlement, a panel of three independent monitors would work at Microsoft to oversee its conduct.
Microsoft is also compelled to give rival software makers enough information source code so that they can develop middleware that would interact with the ubiquitous Windows operating system.
Microsoft is also banned from retaliating against rivals who bring out competing products.
In Thursday's filing, the Justice Department said a final judgment affirming an amended settlement "will stop recurrence of Microsoft's unlawful conduct, prevent recurrence of similar conduct in the future, and restore competitive conditions in the personal computer operating system market ... "
The department filed the suit in May 1998, alleging that Microsoft was using its Windows operating system as leverage to restrain competition.
The suit was eventually combined with a similar one brought by 20 states and the District of Columbia.
After a 78-day trial, a federal judge found the company guilty of violating the Sherman Act. An appeals court upheld large portions of the judge's rulings, but reversed his order to break the company in two.
The appeals court then sent the case back down to Kollar-Kotelly for a new trial. However, the judge put pressure on both sides to reach an agreement.
The Justice Department, Microsoft and the states of New York, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin reached a settlement on Nov. 6.