The software maker said it needs the extra time to depose two new witnesses added by the U.S. Department of Justice, which recently shuffled its witness lineup by adding two Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) competitors.
On Thursday, Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson agreed to a four-day delay to the trial, which is now slated to begin Oct. 19.
New Apple, Sun witnesses
The new witnesses are Avadis Tevanian, Apple's senior vice president for software engineering, and James Gosling, a vice president with Sun Microsystems Inc.
Tevanian is expected to testify in response to allegations by government investigators that Microsoft sought to divide the multimedia software market and convince Apple to drop QuickTime.
Gosling is expected to testify about the Sun's claim that Microsoft sought to gain control of the Java programming language. Sun is currently involved in litigation with Sun over Java.
Microsoft has flatly rejected the government's allegations.
If Judge Jackson grants Microsoft's appeal for an extension, the new date would be Nov. 2.
Not a 'pop quiz'
"What people are not seeing in all the heat of the moment is that a federal antitrust case is not supposed to be a pop quiz," said Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray. "This is the exact opposite of the way you're supposed to conduct a trial."
In three late Friday filings, Microsoft contended that the government had waited until the last possible moment to add Tevanian and Gosling to its witness list. A spokesman for the Justice Department was not immediately available for comment.
Microsoft also formally asked permission to substitute Eric Engstrom and Robert Muglia for Thomas Reardon and Jeffrey Raikes on its schedule of witnesses.