Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly alerted the media on Thursday that she would issue her ruling in the Microsoft antitrust case on Friday afternoon at 4:30. In a tersely worded statement, the judge said that she would issue her "Opinions" in the case, which will include both the company's proposed settlement with the US government as well as a separate set of more stringent remedies sought by the non-settling states and the District of Columbia. Kollar-Kotelly has been preparing her ruling since the non-settling states' eight-week court case ended in May.

"At approximately 4:30 pm on Friday, November 1, 2002, United States District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will issue Opinions in the Microsoft cases," the statement reads. Her opinions will be available in several formats, including downloadable PDF versions.

Given the judge's six months of preparation, legal experts believe that Kollar-Kotelly will reject Microsoft's proposed settlement, which I regard as a wrist-slapping exercise that mocks the US legal system. According to federal antitrust laws, the judge cannot accept parts of the proposed settlement, but can only accept or reject it. However, if she does reject the settlement, the judge can offer suggestions to lawyers to change the proposal into an agreement she can later accept.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, you might recall, found Microsoft guilty of sweeping antitrust violations in June 2000 and ordered the company broken up. However, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the breakup order because they felt Jackson was biased against Microsoft, though it did uphold the judge's findings of fact and ruling against the company. Judge Kollar-Kotelly picked up the case in August 2001.