The two sides in the Microsoft antitrust case met today with trial judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to set the schedule for the next phase of the case. It was their first meeting since Jackson announced his blistering verdict earlier this month.

The meeting focused on trial scheduling, and government officials left it saying the prospect for a settlement was "unknown".

The 30-minute meeting in judge Jackson's chambers in US District Court, saw government and Microsoft attorneys discuss final trial schedule. Jackson agreed to hear oral arguments on the law prior to the release of his verdict. Those arguments will come sometime after both sides present written arguments in January.

Attending was Microsoft chief trial counsel John Warden, Microsoft attorney Steven Holley and at eight US Department of Justice and state officials, including lead trial counsel David Boies, Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal and Iowa attorney general Tom Miller.

Two weeks ago, in his findings of fact, Jackson declared that Microsoft was a monopoly that set prices without regard to competition. In his verdict, Jackson will decide whether Microsoft broke the law to maintain and expand that monopoly. Based on his present findings against the company, such a verdict is expected.

Government attorneys say they have come to no decision about a potential remedy.

"We're still working hard on that," said Miller. "Neither of us [state or federal officials] have really decided exactly what the best remedy is for the consumer interest."

But Miller said he expected a strong consensus on whatever remedy is reached.

"Look at how the trial has gone: The Justice Department and the states have been in concert on every issue, and we anticipate this will not be an exception," said Miller.