A federal judge handed Microsoft Corp. an enormous victory, endorsing nearly all of its antitrust settlement with the Justice Department and rejecting harsher penalties sought by nine states.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly warned company founder Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives, however, that she would hold them individually responsible for complying with her instructions.
The nine dissenting states, joined by the District of Columbia, had argued that tougher sanctions were needed to restore competition in the computer industry. But the judge said penalties they sought would chiefly benefit the company's rivals.
Kollar-Kotelly made a few minor changes to the settlement that require acceptance by Microsoft and the Justice Department, which sued the software giant 4 1/2 years ago when Democrats held the White House and economic times were rosier.