Microsoft Settles New Mexico Affair

Microsoft announced late Friday that it has reached a
settlement in the class action suit brought on behalf of consumers in the State of New Mexico.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software vendor will pay $31.5 million to settle claims that it violated New Mexico’s antitrust and unfair competition laws.

The law firms of Hinkle, Hensley, Shanor, & Martin, Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, & Robbins and Freedman, Boyd, Daniels, & Hollander negotiated for the plaintiffs. The deal, which received preliminary approval on July 29, 2004 from the First Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico, provides for vouchers that can be used to buy any manufacturer’s desktop, laptop, tablet computers, consumer software or specified peripherals.

Following the model of previous state class action settlements, Microsoft will pocket half of any unclaimed settlement funds. The other half will go to New Mexico’s underprivileged public schools in the form of vouchers that may be used for computer hardware, software and professional development services. The schools also will get half of the difference between the value of vouchers issued to consumers and the value of those actually redeemed.

In June, Microsoft settled
similar suits with Arizona and Massachusetts.

“This settlement not only provides benefits for New Mexico consumers and businesses, but also to schools within the state by giving them the means to upgrade their existing computer systems and become more technologically advanced,” David Freedman, attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, said in a statement, “This settlement allows us to focus on the future and building great software, and avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation.”

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