Microsoft/AOL settlement and implications

All major media outlets are reporting today that Microsoft and AOL have settled the anti-trust suit filed against Microsoft by AOL claiming that the company pushed Netscape out of the market through uncompetitive means.

The result was a $750M payment to AOL, an agreement between the two companies to cooperate on IM (instant messaging), and technology licensing agreements allowing AOL to use Microsoft's Windows Media 9 file format and to continue using its Internet Explorer for another seven years.

An article on CNET details some of the issues and potential for this relationship.

The article also points out that AOL has been picking up other technology licenses as well, including AAC (the MP4 audio format used by Apple in their iTunes software).

AOL is certainly keeping its options open.