It did nothing wrong, say MicroSoft, but they will settle an antitrust suit filed by onetime operating system rival Be for $23 million. Now they can get down to settling the backlist of other antitrust lawsuits in the in-tray.

The move all but closes the book on Be, which has said it will shutter itself and return all its remaining assets to shareholders. The company’s technology and much of its staff went to handheld maker Palm two years ago in exchange for $11 million in Palm stock.

As part of the Palm deal, Be retained the rights to file suit against Microsoft, which it eventually did in February 2002.

“Both parties are satisfied with the agreement and believe that it is fair and reasonable,” the companies said in a statement. In the suit, Be had charged that Microsoft’s anticompetitive efforts led to the company’s destruction, with the software maker’s efforts having thwarted deals that would have put the company’s OS onto major name brand PCs.

For Microsoft, the deal brings an end to another of the antitrust lawsuits hanging over the company. Earlier this year, Microsoft reached a deal with AOL Time Warner in which the software maker will pay $750 million to settle a suit brought by its Netscape Communications unit.

Executives have said the company is looking to settle legal actions where it can. The company still faces a number of actions, including a pending antitrust action by the European Union, a suit by Sun Microsystems as well as consumer class-action suits in several states.

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