Lawyers for Microsoft Corporation and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) met with mediator Richard Posner on Monday, the third straight weekly meeting for the group. And if rumors are true, this third time might be the charm: According to reports, Microsoft and the DOJ are "close" to a settlement, the most promising development so far. Representatives for Microsoft and the DOJ, of course, refused to comment.

Shares of Microsoft stock rallied this afternoon on rumors of the settlement.

Judge Richard Posner was chosen by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to mediate the case, which is heading rapidly to some pretty serious charges against Microsoft Corporation. Jackson's conclusions of fact in the case are expected in early February unless the two sides can reach settlement