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Judge backs MS-DoJ deal, Microsoft now in the clear?

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Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has given her backing to the Microsoft-DoJ proposed settlement of the antitrust case, and has rejected the dissenting states' arguments for stiffer measures against the company. Her final judgment, published here today, (but you're likely to have to wait a while before you can get through to it) to all intents and purposes repeats the terms of the deal widely derided as the 'Seattlement.'

US Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose DoJ masterminded that deal, has naturally welcomed the judge's decision, while Microsoft has scheduled a press conference for later this evening, Pacific time.

The current state of play therefore is that Microsoft is (remember?) still guilty of serious antitrust violations, but that the District Court has decided that the measures it agreed with the DoJ are sufficient to stop the company from sinning again. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, it's just a pity some of them are judges.

At time of writing it wasn't clear whether or not the states would appeal, but Microsoft still has several other suits to deal with, and the evidence that delivered the original guilty verdict won't help it in these.

The European Commission should now also begin to come into play. Earlier this week the Commission confirmed that it was awaiting events in the US before making its final move on Microsoft, and unless Judge CKK's verdict is subject to a serious challenge, it now has little justification for waiting longer. So, out of the woods, but watch out for timber trucks? ®

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