An Iowa state judge today gave early approved to a settlement that would see Microsoft pay $180 million to Iowa residents, the software developer has revealed. The result of a class-action lawsuit, the deal will ask Microsoft to refund a set amount of money to private buyers who picked up a copy between 1994 and 2006, ranging from $10 for Word to $29 for the complete Office suite. MS-DOS and Windows 95-2000 buyers will receive $16. No proof of the sale will be needed for smaller claims.
The four representatives who initially made the case will each receive $10,000, Microsoft said. Government offices that bought into the software between 2002 and 2006 were also eligible.
The settlement will mark the end to a suit initially filed in 2000, which accused Microsoft of wielding its monopoly over operating systems and productivity software to knowingly overcharge Iowa citizens for every copy sold. Microsoft has fought the claims until today and visited the state Supreme Court in three seperate instances. However, the company attempted to apply a positive spin to the loss in confirming the payout, saying that $1 million each would go to Iowa education and legal aid funds.
"This program directs money for technology to Iowa schools that need it the most," Microsoft legal counsel Rich Wallis said.
In spite of the claim, the company has suffered a series of embarrassing revelations during the suit which revealed anti-competitive practices, including a hesitation to publish standards required by law as well as a desire to threaten Dell with punishments if it moved more closely towards Linux. The company's internal e-mail also disclosed that it had changed Windows Vista to counter Mac OS X Tiger.