With a 2 November deadline looming, reports are surfacing that Microsoft and the US Department of Justice have reached a settlement over the three year-old antitrust case.
Two weeks ago, District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who recently drew headlines when it emerged that she had sold Microsoft shares in the not-so-distant past, appointed arbitration specialist Eric Green as a mediator in the case.
Kollar-Kotelly gave Green until 2 November to come up with a solution. But details are being kept under wraps because the 18 states involved in the case have to sign the deal off.
However, many of the states' Attorneys General have been pushing for a harder line to be taken with the software giant.
Possible terms of the settlement may include greater leniency for manufacturers to install third-party software on Windows-based machines, and even greater access to the Windows source code itself.
Should the federal court, made up of the 18 states, oppose the settlement tomorrow, Kollar-Kotelly will be forced to set a date for hearings on the next stage of the trial which will decide on penalties to be imposed on Microsoft.
Shareholders reacted favourably to the news of a settlement, sending Microsoft stock up 4.5 per cent in early morning trading.
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