Microsoft On A Roll Settling Class-action Suits


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Microsoft has settled a class action suit with Vermont and details of the only class action suit against Microsoft that went to trial -- in Minnesota -- have been released.
Thursday's settlement in Vermont, which is the nation's least-populated state, was capped at $9.7 million. In Minnesota, Microsoft agreed to shell out $174.5 million.

The Vermont settlement is similar to results reached in other states while Minnesota's agreement calls for a cash payment of $2.5 million and $2.5 million in vouchers to the University of Minnesota. Under the agreement, Microsoft will also donate $2.5 million in cash to the Minnesota Legal Aid Society.

In Minnesota, more than one million consumers and businesses will be eligible for refunds on purchases of some Microsoft operating system and application software purchased between May 18, 1994 and March 17, 2003. According to a statement from plaintiff attorneys in the case, Zelle, Hufmann, Voelbel, Mason and Gette, Minnesota purchasers of certain Microsoft products will be eligible for $15 per copy of Windows or MS-DOS, $23 for Microsoft Excel, $23 for Microsoft Office, and $9 for Microsoft Word.

Both Minnesota and Vermont decisions were settled in terms seemingly beneficial to each respective state's public school systems. The Vermont case focused on its own timeframe -- for purchasers of some Microsoft software from March 31, 1995, and December 31, 2002. Vermont consumers will receive vouchers from Microsoft.

In recent weeks, Microsoft has opened its vast cash reserves to settle numerous lawsuits. According to widely published news reports, Microsoft has agreed to pay at least $1.8 billion to end consumer antitrust suits in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

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