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MS trial: there ain't going to be a hanging – yet

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Court officials have confirmed that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson will not be producing his findings of law today after all. The judge, who is expected to come down heavily on Microsoft if and when he speaks, said last week that he'd push the button today (Tuesday) if progress hadn't been made in the mediation talks. So clearly progress of sorts must have been made, even though no Microsoft or government reps have yet been seen haring for the scene of the talks, chez mediator Judge Richard Posner in Chicago. Microsoft now has a stay of execution until April 7, and this being a Friday, it could well be the big one - delivery after the markets close, or postponement again, while the parties wrangle some more over the weekend? The nature of whatever progress may have been made can only be inferred from what's happened over the past few days. Microsoft's offer of last week doesn't seem to have been either sufficient or clear enough for it to be acceptable, but the government must now be viewing it as a basis for negotiation. At least some of the extra time will have to be used by the government camp to bring all of the States attorneys general up to speed, and to try once again to achieve a common position. In reality, this may turn out to be harder than squeezing more concessions out of Microsoft. ® Related stories: Judgement day: will the judge string MS up? MS offers to free OEMs, disintegrate Windows to escape noose

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