US Complains of Microsoft Antitrust Dalliance

On Monday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a court filing in which it complained, in its strongest language since Microsoft's 2001 antitrust settlement, that the software giant was moving too slowly in adhering to the antitrust agreement. The filing expressed concern that Microsoft was dithering regarding its promise to supply technical information to competitors. Microsoft recently delayed the release of technical information to competitors until late 2006, about 9 months later than it had previously estimated.

Microsoft's US antitrust case has seen some highs and lows over the past few months. In October, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said that Microsoft was taking too long to comply with its settlement terms. But in November, the judge noted that the company seemed to be "back on track." Now, the DOJ indicates that Microsoft has fallen "significantly behind" in its publication of the required technical information.

Honestly, does this surprise anyone? It should have been clear to all parties that Microsoft, as well as any company in the same position, would take its time meeting the terms of the software giant's antitrust settlement.

Microsoft's response to the DOJ filing was predictable. "Microsoft is working hard to resolve the concerns," a Microsoft spokesperson said, "and will expend whatever resources are necessary to address these issues."

Meanwhile, Microsoft's antitrust drama continues along the same pace in Europe. On Monday, Microsoft revealed that the European Commission (EC) had granted it an extension so that it could respond to the EC's latest complaints about, yes, Microsoft's inability to meet the requirements of its antitrust charges in a timely fashion. The software giant has until February 15 to respond to the complaint. The EC had previously threatened to fine Microsoft as much as $2 million a day if the company did not begin sharing technical information with rivals.

The reason for the extension? The EC complaint "arrived just before the holidays."

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