- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 13, 2001

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly let a deadline pass yesterday without appointing a mediator to oversee settlement talks between the federal government and Microsoft Corp.
A telephone conference to update the judge yesterday on progress toward a settlement in the lengthy antitrust case did include discussion about appointing a mediator, a source familiar with the conference call said. But the judge had not decided whether to appoint someone to oversee negotiations and did not say when she would make the decision.
"The judge will go back and weigh what would be acceptable in terms of a mediator," the source said.
The federal government, state attorneys general and Microsoft have been engaged in periodic talks about potential penalties against the company since an appeals court decided in June that the Redmond, Wash., software company maintained an illegal monopoly in the market for personal computer operating systems.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered lawyers from Microsoft, the federal government and the states last month to try again to negotiate a settlement.
She also said that unless substantial progress toward a settlement was made by a deadline yesterday, she would appoint a mediator.
She also gave them option of suggesting a mediator she could appoint.
Judge Richard Posner tried unsuccessfully to mediate a settlement in the case last year.
State attorneys general had little to say about yesterday's conference call.
"The states participated in the call today with the parties reporting to Judge Kollar-Kotelly. We are not discussing or characterizing the report to the judge. We are awaiting Judge Kollar-Kotelly's next order in the matter," said Bob Brammer, spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who led the states' effort in the antitrust case.
The Justice Department had no comment.
Microsoft confirmed that it took part in the conference call.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request by Microsoft to consider throwing out the government's case against it because of comments made by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. The Justice Department said last month it will abandon efforts to have the company broken apart, but it still is seeking restrictions on its business practices.

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