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Justice Dept slams 'Machiavellian' Microsoft

Monopoly's anti-trust compliance sucks - DoJ

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The US Department of Justice says Microsoft is doing a lousy job complying with the anti-trust settlement, and quoted Machiavelli to support its case for an extension to the monitoring program.

As of 1 February, over 700 issues remained outstanding out of over 1,000 submitted to the monitoring committee, which was set up to ensure Microsoft keeps to its word in the settlement to the long running anti-trust lawsuit. Microsoft was found guilty in 2000 of abusing its monopoly position, and a final decree issued in 2002.

The decree set up a monitoring program that's due to expire next year. Now the DoJ wants to extend the compliance monitoring program for at least two years to 2009, and ideally to 2012 - by which time Windows Vista may or may not have been released.

The monitoring committee says Microsoft's compliance is so inadequate that even Microsoft agrees it needs to be restarted. The software giant is keeping contractors in Bangalore busy as it races to complete protocol documentation which almost everyone agrees is useless, in time for a June deadline.

The DoJ quoted Machiavelli to describe Microsoft's chaotic development procedures, which if you're being charitable, explains its difficulties in explaining how its software works.

"He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building," cite the Justice Department lawyers.

That's a quote from Chapter eight of The Prince, titled "Concerning New Principalities Which Are Acquired Either By The Arms of Others, Or By Good Fortune". That's where Machiavelli cautions on how to avoid "inconstant and unstable things."

Perhaps he was giving the Medici family advanced warning of the Windows USB stack. ®

EU vs Microsoft - special coverage

The US case doesn't cover server to server protocols, essential to IT integration and the heart of the European Commission's case against Microsoft. Read our daily bulletins from the EU appeals court here.

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