WASHINGTON, DC: US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Tuesday dealt Microsoft a sharp rap across the knuckles with her judicial ruler, rebuking it for the  "inexcusable delay [that] impeded the final judgments from accomplishing their intended result and achieving their principle objects."

She was referring to Microsoft's pathological foot-dragging when confronted with antitrust issues.

In this case, its failure to comply with an earlier court edict to produce an adequate licensing agreement allowing rivals access to the software protocols necessary to integrate their own products with the Windows operating system.

That condition was identified by the court as one of the most important elements of the 2002 settlement between the software titan and the government. But although slated for completion by February 2003, it has yet to be fully implemented.

Quoth Kollar-Kotelly: "Although the technical documentation project is complex and novel, it is clear, at least to the court, that Microsoft is culpable for this inexcusable delay."

She ruled that the stringent antitrust supervision of Microsoft, imposed as part of the 2002 settlement,  be extended for a further two years.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, a grandmaster of the legal non sequitur, was on top form: "We are gratified that the court recognised our extensive efforts to work cooperatively with the large number of government agencies involved.

"We built Windows Vista in compliance with these rules, and we will continue to adhere to the decree's requirements."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff