A federal judge in Washington Friday approved an anti-trust settlement reached earlier by the U.S. Justice Department and Microsoft, the world's biggest computer software company.
The decision is good news for Microsoft, which for four years has been fighting an anti-trust action brought by the Clinton administration and several state governments. Prosecutors had wanted Microsoft to be split apart, arguing that its Windows operating system is a global monopoly against which other companies can not compete.
Friday's decision essentially endorses the out of court settlement reached between the Bush administration's Justice Department and Microsoft. Nine dissenting state governments are still pursuing the case.
Financial markets regard Friday's ruling as good for Microsoft, bidding its share price higher in after hours trading. In the earlier negotiated settlement Microsoft agreed to changes in its operations, making it easier for other non-Microsoft browsers to be used on its Windows software.