Microsoft said slow to fix document glitches

Microsoft Corp Chairman Bill Gates speaks during a news conference in Tokyo May 7, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp MSFT.O was criticized on Tuesday for being slow to resolve problems in the technical documentation it was required to provide to rival software makers as part of its 2001 antitrust settlement.

The problems were a major part of discussions at a hearing held to review Microsoft’s compliance with the pact that settled findings the company had abused its dominance in personal computer operating systems.

Microsoft was required to issue licenses for companies who want to write programs for the Windows computer operating system, and also provide technical information about Windows to help make the programs work.

The Justice Department and states, who were also party to the antitrust suit, complained that Microsoft had acted too slowly in resolving technical information problems, known as “technical document issues” or TDIs.

“It’s clear that the TDIs are not declining,” said Jay Himes, chief of the New York attorney general’s antitrust bureau. Himes estimated that each Microsoft employee working on the problems cleared one per month.

Microsoft said it was convinced the issue would be resolved. “There are TDIs but I thought everyone agreed that there would be TDIs” for as long as the oversight was in place, Microsoft attorney Rick Rule told the interim compliance hearing before District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

There were 1,276 outstanding TDIs in the 20,000 page document, said Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster. “We’re doing our best to close them as fast as we identify them,” he said.

A full compliance hearing has been set for September 25.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn