Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold in-camera antitrust trial talks with the recently appointed court mediator on November 30.

Lawyers for Microsoft, the DOJ and the 19 US states engaged in the bitterly fought lawsuit have been called to Chicago on Tuesday to meet with Richard Posner, chosen by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to act as mediator, a report in the New York Times disclosed.

Judge Jackson announced the appointment of Posner, the chief judge of the 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals in Chicago, as mediator, less than a week ago.

The sides have already met up to reach a settlement, but to no avail.

Advice Posner's advice to the software giant is likely to be to settle with the DOJ and the US states before facing a final ruling that may invite yet more class-action lawsuits, the New York Times report said.

Yesterday, law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach announced it is filing a consumer class-action lawsuit in West Palm Beach against Microsoft. The lawsuit alleges that the software vendor's anti-competitive behaviour resulted in an increase in the price of PCs that came bundled with Microsoft's Windows operating system.

The Florida lawsuit is the latest in a steady stream of class-action lawsuits being filed against Microsoft following Judge Jackson's findings of fact issued November 5. In the findings of fact, the judge sided strongly with the government's case, stating that the software vendor is a monopoly and has abused that position to both damage its rivals and limit consumer choice.

Other lawsuits have already been filed in San Francisco, Louisiana, Orange County, California, New York and Birmingham, Alabama, according to reports.

Judge Jackson has already set the date for making final oral arguments in the antitrust case as February 22 in the Federal District Court in Washington.