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A federal judge ordered

Microsoft

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to pay privately held software company

Bristol Technology

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$3.7 million in legal fees, in addition to $1 million awarded for unfair trade practices.

The ruling also entitles Bristol, which had asked for nearly $6 million to pay its legal bills, to request a new trial on other antitrust counts.

Bristol, based in Danbury, Conn., sued Microsoft in August 1996, claming it suppressed competition by illegally withholding its latest Windows NT source code and forcing developers to create applications only for Windows. Bristol's main product acts as a bridge between developers writing software for both Windows-based and Unix-based computers.

A Microsoft representative said the company was assessing its legal options.

A federal jury found at the end of a trial in July 1999 that Microsoft had violated Connecticut's unfair trade practices act, but it awarded Bristol damages of only $1. The judge later increased that award to $1 million.