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Consumers get $180 million in Microsoft settlement, lawyers get $75 million

Microsoft has settled its long-running antitrust case in Iowa. The lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2000, claimed that Microsoft was involved in anticompetitive business practices which in turn resulted in higher prices for consumers.

The lead plaintiffs in the case, Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Conlin and Minneapolis lawyer Richard Hagstrom will receive $75 million in legal fee and expenses as a result of the settlement -- a record for the state of Iowa.

The $75 million in fees represent a bill rate of $575 an hour for each of the 150 lawyers, clerks and paralegals involved in the case. Over a seven year period, 117,000 hours were logged in relation to the case. The individual rate for Conlin and Hagstrom works out to $1,072 dollars per hour. The payout for the two lawyers also includes a 43 percent risk premium which was approved by a Polk County district judge.

While the lawyers will receive $75 million, Iowans will receive $179.95 million -- $330 million was originally requested. Microsoft will dish out $10, $16, $25 and $29 respectively for Word/Works/Home Essential, Windows/DOS, Excel and Office. Individual consumers can claim up to $200 without a proof of purchase, however, any amount exceeding $200 must be backed with supporting documentation.

Iowa consumers will receive their settlements in checks from Microsoft while businesses and government bodies will receive pay vouchers.

Some Iowans aren't happy with the settlements they are receiving in relation to the payout reserved for lawyer fees. "How in the name of all that is sacred can you even imagine that to be equitable?" inquired Parkersburg resident Betty Klingenbord. "I also do not like how this makes Iowa look. Where will these lawsuits end?"

The settlement covers Iowans who purchased Microsoft software between May 18, 1994 and June 30, 2006. Customers who wish to receive their reimbursements from Microsoft must do so before the December 14 deadline.

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By TomZ on 9/4/2007 12:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
Then let's just dissolve MS.

You're talking nonsense. Antitrust regulators have been carefully watching Microsoft for many years, and so far they have not observed any reason to even consider doing this.
Fact is, the only thing keeping their monopoly alive is that the public perceives it in their best interests to do so.

I disagree - you are ignoring the benefits and efficiency in having a single de-facto standard operating system. Applications writers can focus their limited development resources on a single platform, and the same for device manufacturers creating device drivers. Quality and choice would suffer terribly if there were 10 different popular OSs that needed to be supported.
If these other OS were viable alternatives for the public at large, MS would no longer exist today as the OS figurehead they are.

Other OSs are certainly viable today, considering that maybe around 10% of computers and a much higher percentage of servers run an OS different than Windows. But of course not running Windows, you'll be losing the benefit of the zillions of apps and devices that are supported. But this doesn't mean it's not viable.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 12:41:55 PM , Rating: 2
Those servers aren't running the popular Ubuntu distro, or Mac OSX either.

Those servers wouldn't ever use an OS designed around server usage.

By TomZ on 9/4/2007 12:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I don't understand your point.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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