I couldn't agree less ;)
Sure, but if they'd stuck to the lawsuit, they could have got billions more. It was a pretty clear-cut case. $750 million equates to approximately 2% of Microsoft's cash reserves. Chump change, as netguy says.
This will just reinforce the monopoly MS has on the browser market. AOL will now probably use IE for the next seven years, and develops will be encouraged just to code for IE rather than web standards, in the process locking out users of other browsers and operating systems. It'll be a sad day if you will need IE & Windows to use the web.
As I said, 2% of cash reserves. It's not a huge amount for Microsoft, especially for what they've gained with this deal.
They'll be collaborating more than competing in the technology field.
Firstly, IE has about 95% market penetration. This was gained by anti-competitive behaviour, massive abuse of monopoly status, the deliberate destruction of the browser market, all of which is not only going unpunished, but the deal is so favorable to Microsoft that $750 million should be considered as a great investment rather than compensation.
The deal will mean that AOL will be instrumental in increasing the hold on the market of not just Internet Explorer, but also Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger and the nascent MS "Palladium" digital rights management technologies. Microsoft also has a tentative accord meaning that they could in the future gain access to AOL/Time Warner content - all this whilst removing the threat of the anti-trust lawsuit.
The only reason why AOL agreed to this was that they were so desperate for cash they were prepared to sacrifice Netscape and the Mozilla project just to reduce their debt by about 3%.