Microsoft, not surprisingly, is crying foul. Isn't this the same sort of deal that landed us in antitrust court, asked Microsoft legal counsel Charles "Rick" Rule? "Unless [the government is] about to go and criminally charge the Netscape and AOL and Sun people, which they aren't, then they can't claim these kinds of negotiations are improper," he said. Of course, none of these companies have a monopoly like Microsoft's to use as leverage. But the talks may become a vindication of Microsoft's central claim -- that you can't regulate an industry that turns topsy-turvy in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, such a deal couldn't come at a better time for Netscape, which has been struggling financially for three quarters but has seen its stock more than double in the past month. Antitrust, it seems, can be very good for business.