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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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RE: Hrm....
By Blight AC on 9/4/2007 1:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well, comparing it to Air Conditioning in a car would be more appropriate. Try to buy a new car without AC, yet, AC is still listed as an "option". Whether I use it or not, I still have to pay for it.

That's why Microsoft is on the losing side of this lawsuit and has to pay back Iowa the millions from the lawsuit. Microsoft coerced OEM's to provide MS Office, and thereby forced customers to buy MS Office whether they were going to use it or not.


RE: Hrm....
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 1:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
There is this nifty thing you can do. Customize, and special order. Then, you get the options you want, and you don't get the ones you don't want. Amazing concept, don't you think?


RE: Hrm....
By Blight AC on 9/4/2007 1:59:28 PM , Rating: 2
Meh.. takes too long till I get my car.. I want it now! :D Admittedly, a part of it is the consumers fault, because they did pay for this agreed upon price.

However, sometimes, the consumer feels that is their only option, for instance, the dealer told me flat out, that I couldn't get a car without the "optional" A/C.


RE: Hrm....
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to change the system, you have to work within the system. By buying a car from another company that offers a non-A/C variant, or by special-ordering a car without A/C, then you are sending your vote to the market to have that "non-option" more readily available. If a significant number of like-minded customers do the same thing, then change will happen.

From a practical standpoint, at least in the U.S., I think most people believe that AC is a worthwhile investment, which is why most dealerships order most of thier cars with it. I live in Michigan, and I would never have a car without it, and I can't imagine the climate in any of the lower 48 is such that AC wouldn't add a lot of value, not to mention resale value.


RE: Hrm....
By Blight AC on 9/6/2007 1:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Or, you know, I could just sue them later on, in a State vs Vehicle Manufacture/Dealer case... even though I've been using the A/C anyhow. Isn't that the American way. :P


"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins











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