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New Mexico pulls out of Microsoft anti-trust suit

Happy with Beast of Redmond's concessions apparently

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The state of New Mexico has surprised many by pulling out of the antitrust suit against Microsoft, saying that it is happy with the company's recently announced concessions for XP.

The Attorney-General for New Mexico, Patricia Madrid, said that the Beast of Redmond's announcement that it would not require Internet Explorer and associated programs to have their icons on the desktop and the Start menu was "a very good first step".

So why drop out the lawsuit? Money. "My job is to do what I think best serves the interests of New Mexico consumers and businesses," Ms Madrid said. "I don't see the upside for having my state expending resources in a case of this magnitude."

Microsoft is naturally overjoyed but the DoJ has refused to comment on the matter and other states' Attorney-Generals have vowed to keep fighting. There are still 17 of them out there to be persuaded.

It's fair to assume that New Mexico has taken Microsoft's announcement as an excuse to get out of the four-year battle. The "concessions" amount to little more than window dressing. While computer companies will no longer have to put an icon for Explorer on the desktop, they will still have to include the program with the OS. The user will have the option to remove Explorer but will actively have to do so.

There are also big question marks over what other programs this agreement will include. Presumably, since Outlook Express is part of the Explorer package, the same will apply. But don't hold your breath. And, of course, none of this will affect Windows Media Player or MSN Instant Messenger because they didn't form part of the original antitrust action.

In short we have little more than a PR exercise which is unlikely to help MS' competitors a jot. But it's worked - one state has pulled out and others are sure to consider following. If they don't jump in the next few days, Microsoft may have to come up with another cosmetic change to let them change their minds. ®

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