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Iowa Microsoft Case Settles

Microsoft and Iowa lawyer Roxanne Colin have announced a settlement in their seven year long, $453 million, class action lawsuit. Yesterday’s settlement remains confidential pending court approval – slated for hearing on April 20, 2007. Both parties touted the benefits of the settlement terms to consumers. Plans are to publicly disclose the terms of the settlement this spring.

Although neither party is disclosing the settlement, a few specifics have been disclosed. The settlement covers customers who purchased Microsoft operating systems and programs like Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Word, Excel and Office from May 18, 1994, through June 30, 2006. Under the terms of the settlement, the Iowa Department of Education receives half of all unclaimed settlement proceeds to assist Iowa schools in purchasing computers and software.

Although what prompted the settlement is unknown, I have a sneaking suspicion that Judge Rosenberg’s dismissal of Roxanne Conlin’s “loss of the benefits of software innovation” claim was a key determinant in plaintiff’s counsel adjusting her assessment of her best alternative to a negotiated agreement. While it is nice to have an extra Polk County courtroom and judge for the next six months, I will hold off on putting my down payment on a Bugatti Veyron until I actually see my end of the settlement. I wonder if the Bugatti dealership takes Microsoft vouchers.

Brett Trout

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