updated 1/29/2008 8:06:55 PM ET 2008-01-30T01:06:55

Court oversight of Microsoft Corp.'s market power, which began in 2002 after a landmark antitrust settlement, has been extended by 18 months.

A federal judge late Tuesday ruled that the settlement would remain in effect until November 2009. A group of ten states, led by California and New York, had requested the oversight be extended until November 2012.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News.)

The court's ruling "should not be viewed as a sanction against Microsoft," U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said. She said her decision was based on delays by Microsoft in filing technical documents related to the licensing of its software.

"We will continue to comply fully with the consent decree," Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said in an e-mail. "We are gratified that the court recognized our extensive efforts to work cooperatively with the large number of government agencies involved."

The Bush administration did not join the states' request. The Justice Department said Microsoft had complied with the settlement and it should be allowed to expire.

Microsoft's shares fell 9 cents to $32.51 in after-hours trading, after dropping 12 cents to close at $32.60.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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