February 14, 2007 9:39 AM PST

Microsoft settles Iowa class action suit

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Microsoft resolves class-action suit

January 10, 2003
The Iowa class action suit that claimed Microsoft broke state antitrust laws has been settled, both parties announced Wednesday.

The plaintiffs had alleged that Microsoft violated Iowa antitrust laws by monopolizing the market, which denied free choice and innovation, forced Iowans to overpay for software and opened consumers up to security breaches, according to the class action complaint (PDF).

The specific award amount and claim process will be disclosed once the court has approved the settlement at a hearing planned for April 20, according to the joint statement.

"We are confident that the settlement is in the best interests of all members of the class and we are deeply grateful for the quality and fairness of the judicial process in Iowa," Roxanne Conlin, lead counsel for the class, said in a statement.

The Iowa antitrust case gained notoriety for the now famous "If I didn't work here, I'd buy a Mac" e-mail sent by Microsoft executive Jim Allchin, who is now retired. The Microsoft in-house e-mail from 2004 received some notice after it was released as part of Microsoft's document production for the case.

Iowa's case is also notable as one of the last state antitrust cases to reach a resolution. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer had been scheduled to testify at the trial.

"I got to say it feels good to put these old allegations to rest," said Rich Wallis, the associate general counsel for Microsoft.

"Some cases just need to go on for a while longer before the parties can find their way to a resolution that works. Microsoft has always been willing to resolve this case on reasonable terms. That opportunity presented itself here and we took advantage of it," he said.

Microsoft has been involved in about 20 state antitrust class action suits, including one in the District of Columbia, since 1998, according to Microsoft. The Iowa settlement marks the 18th case to come to a resolution. A suit in Mississippi is ongoing with a hearing scheduled for the end of February, and one in Michigan that was dismissed is on appeal, according to Wallis.

Businesses and individuals residing in Iowa who have proof that they purchased certain Microsoft operating systems, or Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel or Office, between May 18, 1994, and June 30, 2006, qualify as class members entitled to the settlement. The qualifying operating systems include: MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT Workstation, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will also give the Iowa Department of Education half of any unclaimed proceeds from the settlement in computer hardware and software purchases. The term is similar to agreements in other states.

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settlement, class action, antitrust, class action lawsuit, Microsoft Corp.

13 comments

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How is it putting allegations to rest?
According to the article : "I got to say it feels good to put these old allegations to rest," said Rich Wallis, the associate general counsel for Microsoft.

The article implies that Microsoft did the usual and offered a significant amount of money to settle. How is that putting allegations to rest? Paying out money to "silence" the plaintiffs is surely admitting that the allegations were true.. or Microsoft were worried that further testimony would be acutely embarrassing for them
Posted by Steve_a (22 comments )
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Funny
Funny "As part of the deal, Microsoft will also give the Iowa Department of Education half of any unclaimed proceeds from the settlement in computer hardware and software purchases." Microsoft will give away Zune and Vista upgrade...haha
Posted by Pauldsu (83 comments )
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Settled? The monopolistic predatory practices continue.
How can one settle with a corporation still breaking the law?
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
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Settled? The monopolistic predatory practices continue.
Well when you are the largest company on the Planet, you can do anything you want. And it helps for it to happen while Republicans are in office. They tend to cast a blind eye Antitrust situations.
Posted by pjonesCET (42 comments )
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Which laws
"How can one settle with a corporation till breaking the law?"

Be specific, which laws? Federal? State? What are the title and sections? Or, are you just assuming they are breaking laws? From the posts I read from you, you have never backed up any accusations with hard facts.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
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Hopefully, the Last of the Corporate Shakedowns
Like the state of California, these bogus lawsuits set against Microsoft to help balance liberal tax and spend policies is atrocious, to say the least. These leftist creeps are definitely on the march and need to be stopped by any legal means necessary.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
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Hopefully, the Last of the Corporate Shakedowns
Like the state of California, these bogus lawsuits set against Microsoft to help balance liberal tax and spend policies is atrocious, to say the least. These leftist creeps are definitely on the march and need to be stopped by any legal means necessary.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
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CA Govenor is Republican Conservative...
you know, "The Terminator"...

This has nothing to do with "liberals" or "concervatives".

It has to do with illegal monopolistic actions by Microsoft which the US DOJ determined in their anti-trust monopoly hearings.

Bill Gates is a Democrat by the way.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
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Bartering with the Devil...
Why would anyone in Iowa want to include as part of their "settlement" payment Microsoft Windows Software & PCs?

That shuold be a Technology Trust Fund that schools could puchase new technology at THEIR discretion ( Windows, Mac, Linux, etc, etc. ) for any money that is not "claimed" by the participants.

If they pi$$ed you off enough to go through a class action lawsuit, why would ever want to use their products in the future?

Just open your wallets & pay them in CASH Citizen Gates!
Rich money grubbing robber baron monopolist!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
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If they were truly a monopoly.
There would be a 90% cut of the posts on this site. Maybe even 99% less.
Posted by pjianwei (206 comments )
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Monopoly is not Good Will
Based on your estimation that 90% of the posts negative towards Microsoft and would have nothing to complain about if MS was a true monopoly, you may be confusing good will with monopoly.

If microsoft had a high level of good will within the market or a monopoly on the brand loyalty of customers then 90% of the people here would have nothing to complain about because they'd be as blinded by brand loyalty as the Mirosurfs and Cult of Mac toward there indavidual preferences.

It's very much possible (and aperently courts agree) that Microsoft can have a monopoly or near monopoly on the product market without having total control over the brand preferences of the customer.

That is the reason that 90% of posts apear to be negative towards MS historical and current actions. Further, a significant amount of the complaints are based on technical reasons so MS (after guilty convictions) maintains a monopoly on the market through lock-ins and anti-consumer practices with an inferior but longer entrenched product. Ironically, we once called MS the computer savior and now they've evolved to be the new IBM; we'll see who will be the new MS to return true choice to the market.

I'd even theorize that most of the conflict in these fanboy flamewars is due to people having found more specialized or superior software choices being constantly told that nothing beats Windows (or whatever your favourit OS is) by people who offer no technical explination why.

(Market share proves highest marketing and sales volume not quality of product)
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
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