Microsoft is overhauling its antitrust-compliance program after a judge criticized the company for recent missteps.

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Microsoft is overhauling its antitrust-compliance program after a judge criticized the company for recent missteps, according to a status report filed Friday.


The company is giving more employees antitrust-compliance training and asking a former antitrust official to review its compliance program.


The company drew heat from its antitrust overseer, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, for using a business contract that dictated which software media-player makers could bundle with their Microsoft-powered devices. Microsoft said the restrictions were in a draft contract based on outdated language that was used in error.


Error or not, the company is now requiring that employees of its Entertainment and Devices Division undergo compliance training that already has been given to Windows employees. Microsoft is also requiring MSN employees to take the classes, since MSN operations were merged into the Windows group.


The company is also requiring the Entertainment and Devices Division to run its contracts through an internal “Dealpoint” compliance checker. It is also creating an internal checklist for reviewing agreements and specifications before they are released.


State and federal attorneys general monitoring Microsoft are also concerned about slow progress on a technology-sharing program required by the company’s 2001 U.S. antitrust settlement.


Microsoft is making its communications protocols available, but it has been slow to provide tools that licensees can use to test the technology.


The company underestimated how long it would take to build a special testing tool, so an oversight panel will now assemble one from off-the-shelf components, according to the status report filed yesterday.


Microsoft will also provide licensees with 500 hours of free premium technical support, and the company and regulators will provide monthly status reports on the licensing-program progress starting in January.


Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com