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Microsoft Court Case Decision Postponed

DOJ, states ask Judge Jackson to delay verdict in Microsoft anti-trust case.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the 19 states suing Microsoft for antitrust violations have asked the federal judge hearing the case to postpone his verdict for 10 days. This extra time, according to government officials, will allow the government and Microsoft to continue secret settlement talks via a federal mediator.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson had been scheduled to rule on the case Tuesday. Observers see the postponement as an opportunity for Microsoft to come to an agreement with the government, thus avoiding the stiff sanctions Jackson is expected to force on the company if he issues a ruling. In November, Jackson issued a "findings of fact" that stated Microsoft had used monopoly power to harm competitors and deprive consumers of software innovation.

Late last week, Microsoft proposed a settlement to the antitrust case. Among other things, the company reportedly offered to separate Internet Explorer from Windows and provide competitors access to Windows' source code. But after reviewing Microsoft's offer the Justice Department rejected it, saying it severely lacked in several key, unnamed areas.

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