Analyst Rick Sherlund says in addition to approving a settlement pact between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice, a federal judge Monday rejected almost all additional claims sought by the nine non-settling states. Sherlund says the decision removes the risk of court ordered changes that could have been adverse to Microsoft's business model. The remaining risks are in monetary damages camp, but with over $40 billion in cash, any financial risk is likely manageable.
Sherlund says this clears the way for Microsoft to decide what to do with its sizable cash position: Buybacks, a small cash dividend, or become more proactive with acquisitions. Sherlund has a $65 12-month target.