(CSCO) - Get Report

, the biggest maker of the equipment that powers the Internet, closed with a higher stock-market value than


(MSFT) - Get Report

, making Cisco the most valuable company in the world. Cisco ended the day with a market capitalization of $579.2 billion, slightly ahead of Microsoft's $578.2 billion.

Shares of Cisco have continued to climb steadily through the year, gaining one-third in value. Shares of computer software giant Microsoft have languished amid concerns over the government's pending antitrust case, easing 10% from their peak.

Separately, Microsoft made a last-minute offer as mediation talks neared an end in the government's antitrust case against it. The offer would place new restrictions on the software company's conduct, according to published reports. Microsoft executives and

Justice Department

officials are expected to meet separately this weekend with Judge Richard Posner, the mediator appointed by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

Offerings and stock actions

Sonic Foundry


said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split.


Biosite Diagnostics


said that an advisory panel to the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration

voted not to approve a marketing application for the company's device for testing blood to determine whether someone has congestive heart failure.

Epicor Software


said it agreed to pay $1.8 million to


to settle a lawsuit over software licensing. Epicor said the payment will widen its 1999 loss. Accrual for the settlement will be reflected in its 1999 financial results, which will now show a net loss of $50.6 million, or $1.25 a share, compared with the previously reported net loss of $48.8 million, or $1.20 a share.