MS-Gov talks fail, mediator appointed

They've now got till 2nd November

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kottelly has appointed a mediator in a final attempt to squeeze an agreed antitrust settlement out of Microsoft and the US government team. To no-one's great surprise the two sides reported on Friday that they'd hadn't been able to agree on their own, and Judge Kollar-Kottelly issued an order, released on Saturday, putting the mediator in place.

Dispute-resolution specialist Eric D Green is at least something the two sides agreed on. The judge's order says he was jointly proposed by them, and he has until 2nd November to persuade them to come up with a solution. Which does seem a tad unlikely, given the lack of progress so far.

Failing that, it'll be back to the court on 11th March for hearings on the penalties to be imposed by the judge herself.

Meanwhile, the EU antitrust action is cranking onward. Microsoft has been given a little more time to answer the Commission's statement of objections, which leaked messily last week, but aural hearing may kick off as early as December. ®

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