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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 Screwballl on 9/4/2007 4:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
How about a larger percentage of software that will not work with it. From free anti-virus to firewall to games and more, there is more software than ever that simply will not run in Vista even if their SCL (Software compatibility list) says it will. Half the time it runs... for a day or two then dies, and the only fix is a reinstall every few days.
Or how about a larger number of hardware items that do not have proper drivers because of MS outrageous requirements to get a driver WHQL'd?
Or how about the gutting of the very base of the video and sound subsystems? Forcing the video and sound to be processed by the OS (software) instead of at the kernel level to output to the sound or video device which gets a small fraction of the info needed causing the emulation slowdown. Games and high end apps run slower because of both the sound and video emulation.
There is little to no exclusive coding even with a dedicated sound or video card. It all acts like software-based onboard sound and video solutions on previous OS's.
Eye candy; a majority of the eye candy is nothing but using needed system resources. Sure they look neat but it is not required to run the OS. Much like power steering, power brakes, anti-lock brakes, A/C and more is all not required to run a vehicle, but it is included. In the case of the A/C, we sacrifice performance and gas mileage for cooling off the body. I prefer having control over where my resources go.
Administrative options; you can lock down the system but then it becomes as useless as a 6th toe.
DRM; If I buy it or use it within my legal rights, I will use it how I wish within my possession. I will not upload or share via P2P, I want the option to manage my digital media as I wish without being locked into some asinine handcuffs on my rights. Its good that it verifies the digital signal from the video card to the monitor but other schemes are just to strict for my rights and freedoms.

There is more but I only have so much time and space to type. As a long time computer tech, I see this new OS as total junk, more or less Windows ME2. Why else you think they announced the next OS to be released or at least beta tested in 2009? This is just a stop gap to make MS more money in their pockets.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 4:29:07 PM , Rating: 1
Where are you getting all your Vista information? Are you actually using it, or just reading the blogs of Linux fanbois ranting about Vista?

I would break down and refute your entire post line-by-line, because it's complete bullshit, but to be honest, I don't think it would make any difference and it's not worth my time. Suffice it to say you're deluding yourself with all this misinformation. You must enjoy your head in the sand.

RE: Lol
By Screwballl on 9/4/2007 4:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
I use it daily (2-12 hours per day) as a tech support specialist for a small national ISP. The more I use it, the more I dislike it personally and from a Tech standpoint.
Had more programs crash on me in the first week of using it (starting about 3 months ago) than I ever did using XP. Still have several daily crashes or random software (one example is X-Lite VoIP software telephone).
This is not one single occurrence, this is happening on every single computer that uses Vista, even if I have never touched it.

Anandtech is on Part 3 of their "Messy transition" stories about problems with Vista.

RE: Lol
By Nekrik on 9/4/2007 5:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
I just went to look at the X-Lite VoIP software you mentioned:

They don't even support Vista, they only indicate support for XP/2000. As a tech support specialist you should be well aware that running software on an unsupported OS pretty much means you're using at your own risk and it very well may not work.

You really can't blame Microsoft for user errors such as this.

RE: Lol
By TomZ on 9/4/2007 10:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let's compare notes. I run an engineering company, and all our workstations are running Vista. We run e-CAD applications, simulation apps, software development IDEs (lots of them, for Windows and embedded systems programming for various processors), UML modeling tools, MATLAB/Simulink, graphic design apps, and a whole list of scientific/engineering apps used for automotive ECU development (most you never heard of).

Not to mention accounting, time tracking, and project management apps. On top of all that, we also do a lot of USB device driver development, and so we plug/unplug devices a lot, and generally hammer the development machines. All this runs on Vista. No problems - just as I said, a couple of older apps that have to be run as adminstrator.

Sure, Vista is not perfect - but it is at least as good as XP, and probably better. Furthermore, when you compare the "starting point" for Vista (i.e., the first release) compared to the initial release of XP, there is really no comparison at all.

RE: Lol
By Munkles on 9/4/2007 4:58:38 PM , Rating: 2
Great so obviously your using linux right? Slackware? I mean if you want FULL control? Wait you don't really want full control do you, you want the illusion of full control.

Im not sure what SCL you're referring to but on a daily basis I install ~8-12 new programs and remove a few each day as well as my line of work requires me to know about many programs, at least to know how they function and what they do. To date the biggest issue of software compatibility Ive had was that adobe acrobat wouldn't install until I turned UAC back on. <- not a big deal. I have no performance issues even with vista's eye candy purportedly hogging my resources. I don't care whether or not my OS touches my sound and video just so long as its clean and clear.

The DRM isn't all MS doing. Many companies express the desire for this. I'm no fan of DRM but thats why you can still get and use DRM free music, and they work JUST THE SAME on a xp based machine as they do in Vista.

You maybe a long time computer tech, but you certainly have some funny ideas about technology. As a tech you should know that its always going to change, its always going to progress and often times your software, or your old hardware just wont fit the bill anymore. Maybe your tired of playing the game but that doesnt mean technology will stop progressing. The ability for Vista to multi thread or to handle more memory, having dx10, this is all VERY important to the progression of the system. FURTHERMORE; the biggest issue with ME was stability. So far in using vista across 4 beta releases and the finished product and for almost 2 years now, my computer has not EVER crashed. Its restarted twice on me, both due to improper ventilation (no fault of the os) and in spite of my best efforts (even with no AV) I have not, and can not seem to contract a virus.

Most of what you say just sounds like the bitter rant of a Linux fanboy. Go ahead, use Linux no ones stopping you. No ones telling you that you HAVE to switch to Vista or use it. All people like myself are saying is to stop spreading mis truth about and OS you do not seem to be eminently qualified to do so with.

You seem to be upset with Vista as a stepping stone, well guess what so far ALL technology ALL OS's are stepping stones to the next one. I would rather MS release their software close together IMHO people got to used to XP too complacent and XP imposed limitations on hardware manufacturers to produce new and exciting products because hey would be lost on the OS, and its inability to utilize them.

Get used to change, even the mighty Linux changes daily.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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