Bugs in tech documentation continue to rise

The number of bugs in Microsoft's technical documentation continues to rise.

The number of bugs in technical documentation for Microsoft communication protocols continues to grow, according to court documents filed for ongoing antitrust oversight of the company in the US.

The technical documentation had 1,660 identified bugs as of Dec. 31, up from 1,196 bugs on Nov. 30, according to a Microsoft antitrust status report filed late Wednesday. Microsoft employees identified 613 bugs in December and closed 531 bugs, the court documents said. A technical committee working with Microsoft on compliance with the November 2002 antitrust judgment also identified 517 bugs in the documentation.

Problems with the technical documentation remain the major complaint from lawyers representing the group of 19 states that joined the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. Lawyers for the states have complained repeatedly that technical documentation issues, or TDIs, are opening faster than Microsoft can close them.

In June, there were 1,276 bugs identified. "If you believe Microsoft's resource numbers, they're closing less than one TDI per person per month," Jay Himes, chief of New York's antitrust bureau, said in June. "The fact of the matter is they're identifying more problems than they're closing."

The number of documentation bugs led Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, to extend portions of the antitrust decree by two years in a November 2007 ruling. Microsoft agreed to the extension, and officials there say the company is working to fix problems with the documentation.

Microsoft officials have also suggested that the number of bugs will rise as the company devotes more resources to identifying and fixing them, said Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesman. Nearly 800 Microsoft employees are working on the technical documentation, according to the court documents filed Wednesday.

There are more than 20,000 pages of technical documentation, the court documents said.

Kollar-Kotelly's 2002 judgment requires Microsoft to license its operating system communication protocols so that other developers can build software that works with Windows.

The US antitrust case is unrelated to one moving forward in Europe. Last week, the European Commission charged Microsoft with monopoly abuse over the way it bundles the Internet Explorer browser with Windows.

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