Many of the parties involved in the antitrust case against Microsoft have agreed to a stipulation in the ruling suggested by presiding US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

The one-paragraph stipulation, which lets the court issue further orders or directions in carrying out the judgment, left last week's ruling fundamentally unchanged, according to Jim Desler, a spokesman for Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington. Kollar-Kotelly gave the parties until last Friday to review the suggestion.

Desler said: "It was an amendment the court had wanted. The parties agreed it didn't change the nature of the settlement agreement and agreed to the change."

Approval of the stipulation by the three parties, Microsoft, the US Department of Justice and the nine states that joined the proposed settlement at the core of Kollar-Kotelly's judgment makes the judgment a final one.

Desler said: "Microsoft is pleased that the court has entered a final judgment in this case. It gives clarity not only to Microsoft, but to the industry, and we are committed to living up to their terms and the objectives of the final judgment."

Nine other states and the District of Columbia, which didn't join in the proposed settlement, still may appeal the ruling. Representatives of that group said after last week's judgment that they had not decided whether to appeal.