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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 Blight AC on 9/4/2007 1:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
Meh.. alright, read a bit more. Microsoft made sure OEM's didn't offer alternative OS's, and then charged the consumers a premium. Either way, Microsoft is definitely at fault for taking advantage of it's situation.

While I love Microsoft products, sometimes their business practices are shady, and they take advantage of their market position. Lawsuits like this are just protecting consumer interests. When Microsoft gets their hand slapped by the government, causes them to rethink their strategies, as these anti-competitive practices become less profitable.

By Munkles on 9/4/2007 3:25:36 PM , Rating: 2
You know,

I'm going to sue ____ theme park for gouging me on the price of Coke from their vending machines. Having to pay 4x the market value for their product makes their practices anti competitive, and they have a monopoly on that theme park. I think we should sue for 200 million dollars offering a $16 rebate to anyone that can show proof of purchase, or a bill of sale until 11/7/7. Its just silly.

Shame on MS for wanting to deceptively charge more for an office package. Shame on the computer manufacturer for carrying out the offense. Most of all shame on the consumer for being so willfully ignorant and then playing the part of the victim. The only real victim here are the employee's at MS who now have to make up that deficit before their next quarters earning report or their will be a whiplash from their stockholders.

Life isnt fair. If you paid an extra $20 for MS office because you bought it from dell or hp directly instead of from a brick and mortar retailer, thinking your pulling a fast one and getting a deal.... you should be protected from the consequences.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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