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Microsoft antitrust judgement extended

Department of Justice makes formal request

The US DoJ (Department of Justice) and Microsoft filed formal paperwork yesterday to extend part of an antitrust judgment against the company for at least two years.

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

The antitrust order had been scheduled to expire in November 2007. If the judge approves the two-year extension, the DoJ 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.

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 OS (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 8 February. By 16 March, 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 8 May, 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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