Extension on Microsoft Antitrust Settlement?

The U.S. Department of Justice and Microsoft filed formal paperwork Wednesday to extend part of an antitrust judgment against the company for at least two years.

The extension of U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's November 2002 antitrust settlement would give Microsoft more time to complete work on technical documentation for licensees of its communications protocols. The Justice Department and Microsoft filed a joint request Wednesday for Kollar-Kotelly to approve the extension, which the Justice Department proposed in May.

The antitrust order had been scheduled to expire in November 2007. If the judge approves the two-year extension, the Justice Department and 17 state plaintiffs in the antitrust case can ask for an additional three-year extension if they still have complaints about Microsoft documentation. Microsoft has said it will not oppose a second extension.

Continuing Problems With Documentation

Under the settlement, Microsoft is required to license the communication protocols to other IT vendors interested in developing server software that works with Microsoft's Windows operating system. But as of May, hundreds of bugs in the technical documentation remained.

A technical committee working with the antitrust plaintiffs identified 575 bugs in the technical documentation as of Feb. 8. By March 16, Microsoft had whittled the bugs identified by the technical committee down to 307, but the number of high-priority bugs grew from 68 to 71 in that period.

By May 8, the number of high-priority bugs with a 60-day deadline grew to 79, and the total number of bugs identified by the technical committee was 414.

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