A settlement has finally been reached in the Justice Department's case against Microsoft. This announcement couldn't come at a better time for Washington State's economy. It is a much-needed and long-overdue boost for Microsoft, its employees and Washington State.

This is good news for consumers and for the high-tech industry. Consumers will continue to benefit from a marketplace full of better and more efficient products. The technology industry will benefit by having Microsoft back as a full partner and leader.

It is especially good news for the U.S. economy, which continues to show signs of weakness. The government's case against the most successful high-tech company in the world cast a cloud over the technology sector. With this settlement, I hope and expect this cloud to lift.

The U.S. is the world leader in technology precisely because companies like Microsoft have developed creative, inventive products that enrich our lives at home and work.

The settlement is a fair compromise and the result of extensive negotiations. Microsoft worked hard to reach this result, and may now turn its full resources back to developing products that provide real benefits to consumers in a competitive marketplace.

The state Attorneys General must now agree to do the right thing for their constituents, for the technology industry, and for the U.S. economy and agree to accept this settlement.