RealTime IT News

Microsoft Cleaning Up More Lawsuits

Microsoft put more of its legal troubles to rest this week by settling class action suits with Arizona and Massachusetts.

Redmond latest settlement involved a class action lawsuit alleging that Microsoft had violated Arizona's antitrust and unfair competition laws. The settlement, approved by a court on June 28, 2004, requires Microsoft to administer a $104.6 million voucher program for software similar to programs already in place in other states. Members of the class -- anyone who lived in Arizona and bought Microsoft's operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software during a certain time frame -- can use the vouchers toward purchase of hardware and software.

If members of the class don't use up the entire $104.6 million, Microsoft will split the difference, pocketing half and giving the other half to public school districts in the state with a preponderance of lower-income students. The schools will get the money in the form of more vouchers.

The Massachusetts settlement followed the same model, with the total hit to Microsoft capped at $34 million.

Microsoft settled similar class actions with the states of North Carolina, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.

The exact value of individual vouchers in the two most recent suits wasn't disclosed. As a result of a similar suit in California, consumers got vouchers worth from $5 to $29 toward hardware or software.