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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: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 2:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the argument that Microsoft is at fault because most people don't know there are alternatives makes no sense at all.


RE: Lol
By Hacp on 9/4/2007 9:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
There really aren't many alternatives. A majority of hardware and software is for windows. It will be hard to find things for mac, and forget finding linux software at your local CC.

Microsoft fuels this by making it hard for people to open Word Documents with alternative Office Suites, and also by making it hard for people running different OSes to run DirectX games. In the end, I'm sure more people will be more open to Microsoft once it decides, if it ever does, to open up.


RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 11:01:37 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
There really aren't many alternatives. A majority of hardware and software is for windows. It will be hard to find things for mac, and forget finding linux software at your local CC.

Now you're really pushing the argument. Are you suggesting there have to be "many alternatives" in order for Microsoft to not be considered evil? Come on, that makes no sense. Linux and Mac are available alternatives, not hard to get, not especially hard to use. Sure, not as many devices supported or apps available, but that's the problem with having just a tiny market share.
quote:
Microsoft fuels this by making it hard for people to open Word Documents with alternative Office Suites

Are you sure about that? Microsoft's latest round of Office tools is based on ZIP+XML, both pretty open and easy formats. They also openly published the specifications for the file formats, and submitted them for ECMA and ISO standardization for all to use. In addition, they are also publishing code libraries (including source code) that makes it easier for developers to work with the file format.
quote:
also by making it hard for people running different OSes to run DirectX games

What did Microsoft do to "make it hard" for other OSs to run DX games? I think what you really meant is that "Microsoft didn't make it easy for others to implement their design and APIs." In other words, they didn't give code to Apple and Linux devs, at least not so far. Probably they didn't do that because there's not business case for it. That's not the same as "making it hard" for others to use it.
quote:
In the end, I'm sure more people will be more open to Microsoft once it decides, if it ever does, to open up.

I don't think so - many people hate others that are successful, especially those who have not achieved the same level of success. It seems to be part of human nature - people either identify with that success themselves, or else they are repelled by it.


RE: Lol
By Strunf on 9/5/2007 3:26:46 AM , Rating: 2
“Microsoft's latest round of Office tools is based on ZIP+XML, both pretty open and easy formats.”
OpenXML is not really open… MS is the one that has the last word and a load of its code is MS programs dependent. Also there’s already an open XML and MS can pretty much join them and contribute to this format, why they don’t do it is beyond my comprehension…
BTW MS failed to get the ISO standard and probably will never get it as it is.

MS didn’t make it hard to others if they wanted DX they made it virtually impossible, other API like OpenGL can work on any OS provided anyone wants it. And you can’t deny that MS not only linked the DX to it’s OS but also to its versions, for instance DX10 only works on Vista when there’s no reason at all for not being used with XP…

“people either identify with that success themselves, or else they are repelled by it.”
That or people have just the feeling of playing a rigged game and get frustrated cause of it…


RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/5/2007 8:07:33 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, how does Microsoft have the last word with OpenXML? Seems to me that would be at the hands of the ISO workgroup and the people voting on it. In fact, the recent vote for ISO standardization failed, which means some more changes are needed.

I'll respond to the rest later - I'm out of time.


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