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.