20 Oct Microsoft to distribute $224M as part of settlement
Milwaukee, Wis. – A program authorized by the Circuit Court of Wisconsin in Milwaukee County has began to notify Wisconsin consumers and businesses that acquired Microsoft software over a 10-year period of Microsoft’s intent to distribute nearly $224 million back to them as part of a proposed settlement in their class-action cases against the software giant.
The notices are the result of a proposed settlement in class action lawsuits about whether Microsoft violated Wisconsin’s antitrust and unfair competition laws by overcharging customers for some of its operating systems, word processing, and spreadsheet software.
Under the terms of the settlement, Microsoft would distribute up to $223,896,000 in vouchers that eligible consumers and businesses can redeem to buy computers, peripheral computer hardware, or computer software made by any manufacturer.
Thus far, the court has not ruled on the merits of the lawsuit. Microsoft has denied any wrongdoing, and the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or an indication that any law was violated.
However, the proposed settlement includes consumers who, between from December 7, 1993 through April 30, 2003, resided or were located in Wisconsin and indirectly purchased – from an entity other than Microsoft – a license for a Microsoft Operating System and/or Microsoft Application for use in Wisconsin, and who did not purchase it for resale.
Notices informing Class members about their legal rights will be mailed and e-mailed, and are scheduled to appear in newspapers and magazines in Wisconsin leading up to a hearing on March 30, 2007, when the Court will consider whether to approve the settlement.
Those affected by this settlement can send in a claim form to ask for benefits, or they can ask to be excluded from, or object to, the settlement. The deadline for objections and exclusions is Feb. 13, 2007.
The deadline to file claims is June 30, 2007, or 30 days after the Court grants final approval to the settlement, whichever comes later.
A toll-free number, 1-800-598-3050, has been established in these cases, which are as follows: Spence versus Microsoft Corp. (No. 00-CV-003042); Capp versus Microsoft Corp. (No. 05-CV-011127); and Bettendorf versus Microsoft Corp. (No. 05-CV-010927).
A website will be set up where notices, claim forms, and the settlement agreement can be obtained. Those who are impacted by the case also may write to Microsoft-Wisconsin Settlement, P.O. Box 1626, Minneapolis, Minn., 55440.
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