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Microsoft lags in antitrust compliance, U.S. says

Prosecutors say it has "fallen significantly behind" in meeting certain obligations under its antitrust deal.

Microsoft is falling behind in meeting certain obligations under its antitrust agreement with the U.S. government, the Bush administration said.

The criticism, leveled by federal and state prosecutors in a document filed Monday with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, largely surrounded the company's progress in developing technical documentation for developers who license the Microsoft Communications Protocol Program.

Microsoft started the program as part of its efforts to comply with a 2002 consent decree reached with the government.

Since its last court appearance in mid-November, Microsoft has "fallen significantly behind" in responding to concerns raised by a technical committee charged with overseeing the program's documentation project, according to the Washington, D.C., court document.

The project, known as Troika, is intended to be an automated system that can validate the accuracy of the technical documentation by comparing it to actual network traffic, Microsoft has said. The software giant originally expected to complete the project by February 2006.

Microsoft must "dramatically increase the resources devoted to responding to technical documentation issues," the number of which continues to grow, the prosecutors said.

Microsoft said in a statement that it is "working hard to resolve the concerns" raised by regulators.

"In our filing Jan. 17, we detailed the efforts we've made to increase the speed of our responses to technical documentation issues found by the Technical Committee," Microsoft said. "We also underscored our commitment to expend whatever resources are necessary to address these issues, including hiring as many qualified people as we can find to accomplish these highly specialized tasks."

The software maker also noted that 26 companies have taken licenses for its communications protocols and a dozen products have been shipped that use Microsoft technology.

The Justice Department and Microsoft are expected to file their quarterly status report on Feb. 8, and both parties are due in court on Valentine's Day for a status conference before Judge Kollar-Kotelly.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.