Grant Gross at PC World:
The U.S. Department of Justice asked a U.S. judge today to extend parts of a Microsoft antitrust order for at least two years because of the company’s delays in supplying technical documentation to licensees of its communications protocols.
Microsoft agreed with the DOJ’s request to extend the order two years beyond its scheduled expiration in November 2007, the company said in a statement. The company has also agreed to allow the DOJ and 17 state plaintiffs in the antitrust case to ask for an additional three-year extension if they still have complaints about Microsoft documentation.
The request came in a report to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the judge overseeing compliance in the US Microsoft antitrust case. Todd Bishop links to the full report and notes that it also reveals that the government has dismissed Google’s concern with the IE7 search box.
Concerning the documentation itself, Aaron Ricadela at InformationWeek notes the familiar refrain:
Microsoft is in trouble on both sides of the Atlantic for failure to publish a workable guide for letting other companies’ server software work well with Windows.
and a new solution:
According to the Department’s court filing, Microsoft assigned the senior VP of its servers and tools business, Bob Muglia, to analyze the documentation problem and try to produce a new draft of the guide to Microsoft’s server communications protocols that would satisfy rivals and federal regulators. But “Mr. Muglia and his team ultimately concluded that the current process of trying to fix issues…one at a time was unlikely,” the filing said. Now, according to the court paper, “Microsoft will rewrite substantial portions of the documentation.” As part of the Justice Department’s extended oversight of the company, Microsoft has agreed to keep Muglia in charge of the project until it’s done, or the court orders otherwise. Microsoft has also agreed to make Muglia available for updates to the court.
Microsoft issued a statement Friday in which it said it would license its communications protocols even after the court order expires, as well as make its engineers available to licensees for technical assistance.
There are more details in the Microsoft statement.