Microsoft Settlement Leaks, Part 112,948

Give Microsoft credit for brazenness. It has lost on the facts at the antitrust trial and is about to lose on the law. Its stock price has been flat while the rest of the tech industry is soaring.

Suddenly the stock price is jumping. By sheer coincidence we’ve seen a blizzard of leaks (Mercury News) this week, the most recent of which is a report (USA Today) suggesting that the company will make a settlement offer today. All of the leaks have a common thread, that Microsoft is ready to settle the case because the Justice Department and states are willing to give significant ground.

Think about this. It’s as if a boxer has been flattened by his opponent. The referee has reached nine in the count. Suddenly the on-his-back boxer says, “Let’s call it a draw.”

The only conceivable source for these leaks is Microsoft, which is positioning itself to be able to claim it really, really tried to settle but those unreasonable goverrnment people wouldn’t listen. I doubt the Justice Department and states will give into this ploy, but they have to be feeling some heat at this point.

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