Microsoft's settlement proposal in its antitrust case wasn't good enough to satisfy the government, but it may be weighty enough to spur further talks, which might delay Tuesday's expected ruling by Judge Jackson. So says a report in the Associated Press, which noted that Jackson might be convinced to hold off on the release of his conclusions of law if the two sides will at least begin talking face-to-face.

Jackson warned Microsoft and the government last week that his ruling would be issued today unless the two sides were able to reach a settlement. But discussions between the two were relegated to faxes and phone calls rather than face-to-face meetings with mediator Richard Posner in Chicago. Sources close to the talks say that Microsoft issued a 10-page proposal Friday, and though that was deemed "inadequate" by the government, some of the states apparently found it worthy enough for a series of conference calls Monday.

Shares of Microsoft Corporation stock fell dramatically on Monday once news of the settlement talks leaked to the press; the stock finished down $7.62 at $104.06