Key players in the Microsoft antitrust case:

Bill Gates, 47, Microsoft's chief executive officer. After dropping out of Harvard University, co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen. Even with the country's technology slump, still America's wealthiest person with $43 billion. Considered a forceful competitor and businessman.

During remedy hearings, testified for three days on behalf of his company to argue that states' penalties would damage the PC industry and put Microsoft innovations in a 10-year period of hibernation. Despite battling with government lawyers in a deposition earlier in the case, largely kept his cool on the witness stand. In 1998, promoted Steve Ballmer, a headstrong friend from Harvard, to president of Microsoft while Gates took over as "chief software architect" for the company.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, 65, former Navy officer. Lives in Georgetown and sometimes walks the 20 blocks to the courthouse. Republican appointed in 1982 by President Reagan.

A fixture in the case against Microsoft since 1995, when he approved the settlement in the first government lawsuit against the company. A ruling he made against Microsoft in December 1997 was overturned by an appeals court, which said he had overstepped his authority. Occasionally lost his temper toward witnesses and lawyers but also openly laughed at videotape of Gates' deposition. Gave a series of interviews to reporters after making his decision to break up Microsoft.

Many of his comments, some chronicled in books about the legal ordeal, were used by Microsoft in its appeal briefs to make the case that he is biased against the company. Said Microsoft chairman Gates has a Napoleonic complex, Microsoft trial attorney William Neukom was dumb, and the appeals court judges were "supercilious" and that they "embellish law with unnecessary and, in many cases, superficial scholarship."

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, 59. An appointee of President Clinton with a reputation as a meticulous jurist. Randomly selected to take the Microsoft case on Aug. 24. Replaced Jackson as the judge handling the case, and almost immediately pushed the sides into settlement discussions that resulted in the federal deal. Asked few questions during the public arguments, and gave little insight into her thinking.

Issued consumer-friendly rulings in two high-profile cases — one involving a credit union and one a generic version of a cancer drug. Also handling the case of a legal challenge to the military's detainment of suspected al-Qaida terrorists in Cuba.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, 58. First elected to post in 1978, he is in his fifth term. Coordinated the legal strategy against Microsoft for the states since the inception of the case. Also focuses on consumer protection issues and juvenile crime.

Brendan V. Sullivan, 60, of the Washington law firm Williams and Connolly, lead trial attorney for the 18 states and the District of Columbia. Spoke only three times during entire two-month hearings, including speeches during opening and closing arguments — colleague Steven Kuney and younger lawyers in the firm handled witnesses. Known for his successful defense of Iran-Contra figure Oliver North. Firm also represented Clinton during his personal legal troubles.

Dan K. Webb, 57, of the Chicago law firm Winston and Strawn, lead lawyer for Microsoft. Known for tough questioning of opposing witnesses. Working for the government, Webb prosecuted Adm. John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra scandal. In private practice, he defended the tobacco industry in liability cases and General Electric in a diamond price-fixing trial.

Charles A. James, 48, Justice Department assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division. James, who represents the government in the case, took his current post in July 2001. Recently announced he would leave government service on Nov. 22 to take a job with ChevronTexaco. Previously worked for a Washington law firm as a specialist in antitrust issues, including those in information technology. Served in the Justice Department under former President Bush from 1989-92, including time as acting assistant attorney general.

Philip Beck, 51, of Chicago firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, main trial lawyer for the Justice Department during the settlement hearings. In 2000, Beck led current President Bush's efforts to stop a recount of disputed presidential election ballots in Florida. Has represented many large companies, including DuPont, Bayer, Phillips Petroleum and General Motors.