Microsoft has accused the US government of "short-circuiting" the appeals process in its antitrust case, by giving the company insufficient time to prepare its case.

In papers filed on Thursday, Microsoft reiterated its request to the US District Court of Appeals for a five-month timetable for written briefs. The government wants to wrap-up the appeals process in less than three months.

The US Court of Appeals for Washington will determine the written briefing-schedule, and is likely to move quickly now that the government and Microsoft have submitted their arguments.

Given that the case "threatens Microsoft's very existence," Microsoft said, the company has a responsibility to seek enough time to present its appeal. The company also said the written briefs process would have been over by November had the government not attempted, unsuccessfully, to get the Supreme Court to review the case.

"It is truly remarkable that the litigants now seek to shift to Microsoft the blame for, and the burden of, the delay that resulted from their tactical decision to seek direct review in the Supreme Court," Microsoft said.

The government is attempting to get the Appeals Court review completed by the fall of next year so it is ready for the Supreme Court session that begins next October.