MS ANTITRUST - DOJ, states concerned about Vista docs

DOJ and state attorneys general are concerned about changes in the schedule for Microsoft's antitrust compliance

The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general are concerned that Microsoft is revising deadlines that it agreed to as part of its antitrust settlement. At issue are changes that Microsoft says it needs to make in the schedule for releasing documentation related to Vista, according to a court document filed Tuesday.

"Plaintiffs are concerned that Microsoft has not been able to meet its original schedule and are particularly troubled that at this late hour in the program Microsoft is still discovering protocols that should have been included in the original documentation," the DOJ and the states said in a joint status report. "Plaintiffs are discussing this matter with Microsoft and will report to the court further at the status conference."

The plaintiffs and Microsoft attorneys are due to meet with U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly next Tuesday for the status conference. Such conferences are held periodically so that the judge can assess whether Microsoft is complying with requirements of the 2003 antitrust order against the company.

As part of the judgment, Microsoft is required to provide technical documentation for its software to help ISVs (independent software vendors) make their products interoperable with Microsoft's. On Feb. 15, Microsoft said that it needed to modify the schedule for documentation because protocols that must be documented were added to the Vista Server after the initial schedule for rewriting documentation was set or because those protocols were "inadvertently overlooked."

For its part, Microsoft said in the status report filed Tuesday and made public Wednesday that it found it could "enhance" rewritten documentation of some existing protocols "by providing more detailed and comprehensive descriptions. This increased significantly the number of pages that Microsoft expected to produce in connection with the existing documentation." The number of pages of documentation Microsoft expects will be part of the rewrite project is "likely thousands of pages larger" than the company expected late last year.

Under the revised schedule, Microsoft is expected to deliver documents related to Vista by April 3. It has already met three "milestones" that are part of the schedule and besides the Vista documentation has two other sets due May 11 and July 20 under the revised schedule. Microsoft said that the schedule, even since it was revised, is still aggressive. The antitrust case was tried in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which continues to oversee Microsoft compliance with requirements laid out in the judgment against the company.

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Nancy Weil

IDG News Service

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