Microsoft Suit: Count South Carolina Out

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Even as Microsoft stands bloodied in the courtroom following weeks of less-than-stellar testimony, one state is calling off the dogs. Citing the Netscape/AOL merger as proof that the open-to-all Net will keep the world safe for competition, South Carolina Monday took its name off the list of 20 states suing Microsoft for antitrust. "I can no longer justify our continued involvement or the expenditure of state resources on a trial that has been made moot by the actions of the competitive marketplace," said state attorney general Charlie Condon.

Of course, there was never much in it for the states anyway, other than good press; in contrast to the tobacco suit, nobody was dangling umpteen gazillion simoleons in settlement money. Still, the defection does allow Redmond a little positive spin. Naturally, it was greeted as good news on Wall Street, where MSFT jumped more than 5 points in late-day trading.