MS ANTITRUST - MS settles state class-action lawsuits

MS ANTITRUST - MS settles state class-action lawsuits

Microsoft has settled antitrust class action lawsuits with five states and the District of Columbia.

The six new settlements, with a total value of about $US200 million, brings the total number of states that have settled to 10. Class action lawsuits against Microsoft for antitrust-related practices continue in five states.

The total cost to Microsoft of all 10 class-action lawsuits it has settled is about $US1.55 billion, including a $US1.1 billion settlement of a California lawsuit in January.

Two of the six settlements - with Kansas and the District of Columbia - have been granted preliminary approval by the overseeing courts, Microsoft senior vice president-and general counsel, Brad Smith, said. The settlements, in the form of hardware or software vouchers to past purchasers of Microsoft software, would be $US32 million for Kansas and $US6.2 million for the District of Columbia.

Settlements in four other states - North Carolina, Tennessee, North Dakota and South Dakota - have not been approved by courts, and Microsoft did not release the details of those settlements.

The six new settlements are similar to settlements Microsoft has announced with Montana, California, Florida and West Virginia. Half of the value of any unclaimed vouchers will go to needy schools in the settling states. The schools can buy hardware, software or technical training with the money. Neither the consumers nor the schools are required to buy Microsoft products with the vouchers.

Class-action lawsuits remain in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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