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Microsoft threatened on antitrust non-compliance

Settlement at sixes and sevens

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As surely as night follows day, so Microsoft is regularly upbraided for not complying with the US government's landmark 2002 settlement for breach of antitrust laws.

Now, six years into a seven-year settlement monitoring process, presiding settlement judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has told Microsoft's she doesn't think it's going far or fast enough in meeting the terms of the deal.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly has reportedly said the oversight of Microsoft - as per the 2002 settlement - would not end in November 12, 2010 unless the company publishes all the documents needed by competitors to write applications to Windows.

She was apparently responding after Microsoft said in a written document to the court that it "fully complies with the final judgments."

Microsoft's compliance with the settlement, following the ruling that it had abused its dominant position in operating systems, has been a problem almost since day one.

The court, prosecuting states, and government hold six monthly status meetings to review progress. By turns, Microsoft has been judged to be not producing enough documentation, making documentation difficult to read, to be charging third parties too much to license its Windows APIs or making API documentation confusing.

Microsoft has dutifully made the required changes following each reprimand showing Microsoft can indeed play a long legal game and turning the settlement process into a predictably choreographed Sunday afternoon social dance for lawyers. ®

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