The judge presiding over the US government's antitrust case against Microsoft refused the software maker's attempts to cast doubt on AOL Time Warner's (AOLTW) conduct in the discovery phase of the case, telling Microsoft its efforts only served to draw out the legal proceedings.

Microsoft filed a motion with the District Court for the District of Columbia late Wednesday, asking that AOLTW quickly hand over documents related to the case, or face being precluded from third-party testimony. With the motion, the software maker asserted that AOLTW was purposefully holding back information while aiding the US states that decided not to settle with the government and nine states in the antitrust case.

Microsoft claimed that AOLTW's "uncooperative attitude on document production stands in stark contrast to their active, behind-the-scenes involvement with the non-settling states".

However District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an order eschewing Microsoft's assertions, saying that they were too "narrow" to require the court's intervention.

In the order, the judge urged the parties to independently resolve their dispute. While settlement of the landmark case may be opaque to some, it is clear that Kollar-Kotelly is in no mood to draw out the complicated and high-profile case.

Microsoft and AOLTW have been given until early next week to hammer out their dispute.