Its appears that, despite the desertion of two of the EU's biggest allies (Novell and CCIA) in their antitrust case against Microsoft, the case is very must still alive. But, for how much longer?

"Just the fact that certain parties have withdrawn from the proceedings doesn't change the facts of the case at all. Hence the proceedings will follow their normal course at the court." - EU antitrust spokesman Jonathan Todd.

The decision whether to suspend the EU's far-reaching order against Microsoft is expected within weeks. Microsoft has paid Novell $536 million and an undisclosed smaller amount to the CCIA to pull out of the EU case, and Microsoft has settled with four of the five major interveners in the EU's case. RealNetworks Inc., maker of a rival to Microsoft's digital Media Player application, denies that its alliance with the EU is falling apart. All of this news did not seem to damper Microsoft share prices, which were up 10 cents at $26.63.