"Microsoft will get the chop chop from the feds on Monday!"
It certainly might. There is one thing though. By stepping towards appeal MSFT will soon put this case in the slow lane of the judiciary process and thus buy themselves years of no ongoing legal distractions much the way IBM did 20 years ago. In a few years this case will have zero relevancy. This I believe will be sorted out in the market rather quickly. IWOs unless you already have an active short on the company you face some real upside surprises when investors settle down. And it might not take long.
Bill as you suggested, if Microsoft doesn't with the feds, Microsoft like IBM will spend hundreds of millions of dollars in employee salaries to serve on ongoing Microsoft Employee Legal Task Forces. Like IBM, Microsoft will have to save every piece of paper, every e-mail for the feds to review for the next 10 or more years before Microsoft finally agreees to settle or like IBM, the next President through his Attorney General may drop the case before he leaves office. I suspect George W. Bush may drop the case some time in the year 2009.