The case was assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who urged both parties to reach a settlement. In November 2001 Microsoft announced a settlement with the Justice Department and nine of the states. Key provisions included requiring Microsoft to reveal technical information about the Windows operating system to competitors so that software applications known as middleware would be compatible with Windows, while also enabling personal computer manufacturers to hide icons for activating Microsoft software applications. A computer manufacturer could therefore remove access to Internet Explorer and enable another Internet browser to be displayed on the desktop.
A three-member, independent technical committee was to be established to oversee compliance with the settlement. However, nine other states and the District of Columbia refused to accept the agreement and pressed for harsher remedies. (Of the original 20 states, South Carolina and New Mexico dropped out of the case before the settlement was reached.) In early 2002 Kollar-Kotelly held hearings to review the terms of the settlement and to consider the objections raised by the dissenting parties.
In November 2002 Kollar-Kotelly approved most of the provisions of the settlement and rejected nearly all of the harsher remedies proposed by the dissenting parties. However, the judge amended the settlement by extending the remedies regarding middleware to server applications and by specifying that the compliance committee should be made up of at least three outside members of Microsoft’s board of directors, who would be held responsible for complying with the terms of the settlement.