by CIO Staff

Microsoft Settles Suit in Arkansas

Oct 24, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

Microsoft has agreed to offer US$37.8 million in vouchers for free software and hardware to Arkansas residents as part of a settlement of an outstanding class-action suit against the company.

The company, however, maintains it did not violate Arkansas antitrust and consumer-protection laws, as it has in other states that filed similar suits against the company. Judge Alice Gray of Pulaski County Circuit Court in Little Rock, Ark., will consider whether to approve the settlement on March 6, according to a court news release.

The class-action suit centered on whether Microsoft overcharged for OS, word processing and spreadsheet software. Those eligible for settlement money are consumers or volume license customers based in Arkansas who bought the company’s software either from Microsoft or another retailer between January 1998 and December 2004.

Several other states filed similar class-action suits, alleging Microsoft abused its near-monopoly position in the market to overcharge for its software. For example, the company settled with Arizona in June 2004 for $104.6 million and California for $1.1 billion in January 2003.

According to the proposed settlement, Microsoft will give vouchers that can be used to buy computers, peripherals or other software from any manufacturer, similar to the settlements in other states.

A website with details on how to file a claim for the Arkansas settlement is available online.

If approved by the judge, the settlement calls for half of the unclaimed benefits to go to schools with students from low-income households, and half of the unredeemed vouchers will be given to Arkansas’ Department of Education, the website said.

By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service (London Bureau)

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