Judge Approves Microsoft Settlement

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her decision, ”The court is satisfied that the parties have reached a settlement which comports with the public interest.”

There was no immediate word whether the dissenting states would appeal the ruling.

The deal requires Microsoft to refrain from participating in exclusive deals that could harm competition, to allow manufacturers and customers to remove some Microsoft icons, to provide information to help rivals make products compatible with its dominant Windows operating software, and require uniform contract terms for computer manufacturers.

Kollar-Kotelly removed a requirement that Microsoft create a committee of independent monitors to assess its compliance with the deal. Instead, the company is required to establish a corporate compliance committee made up of Microsoft board members to make sure the settlement’s provisions are met.

In a decision in April 2000, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Microsoft violated antitrust laws by illegally protecting its monopoly over computer operating systems. Jackson ordered Microsoft split in two in June 2000, but an appeals court rejected that ruling a year later. The court sent the case to Kollar-Kotelly to rule on a remedy.

The software giant reached a settlement deal with the Justice Department and nine of the 18 states that filed the antitrust suit. Lawyers for other states told Kollar-Kotelly they were still opposed to the settlement and wanted to impose a stricter punishment.

Microsoft’s stock, which had been down before the ruling, rose $1.74 to $54.74 in after hours trading, Reuters reports.