Sunday, September 28, 2003

Microsoft Settlement Benefits Agreement

I recently received notification regarding the Class Action Suit against Microsoft. The settlement resolution applies to California consumers only.

According to benefits claim information and court authorized notice This Settlement will:

Provide up $1.1 billion of vouchers that may be used toward the purchase of hardware, hardware accessories, and software. Vouchers may only be redeemed for cash after purchases have been made.

The settlement applies to consumers and businesses that legitimately acquired Microsoft Windows, MS-Dos, Office, Word, Excel, Works Suite or Home Essentials between February 18, 1995 and December 15, 2001 for use in the state of California.

The Settlement will resolve private lawsuits about whether Microsoft violated California antitrust and unfair competition laws.

Likewise according to this document Consumer Legal rights are as follows:

Submit a Claim form - This is the only way to get settlement benefits - i.e. vouchers that can be redeemed for chash after the purchase of computer hardware or software.

Object - Write to court if you do not like the settlement.

Go to a hearing - Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the settlement or attorney's fees.

Do Nothing - Give up all rights and nothing changes.

Who may file a claim for vouchers?

All persons or entities who between the dates mentioned indirectly purchased Microsoft software for use in the State of California for any purpose other than resale.

Indirect purchases means that one legally acquied software or a computer on which software was already installed from a person or entity other than Microsoft.

What's IT Worth?

$16 each for Microsoft's "Windows" or "MS-DOS" operating system software
$29 each for Microsoft's "Office" productivity suite software
$5 each for Microsoft's "Word" including "Home Essentials" and "Works Suite" which contain "word"
$26 each for Microft's "Excel" spreadsheet software

*note indirect purchases of Microsoft Mac/Apple software or Server side software are not included in the class action suit and therefore may not be eligible for claim benefits.

The "Volume License" is a license issued under Microsoft's "Open" "Select" or "Enterprise" license programs. Verification of licenses may be relevant for those intested in filing a claim for benefits. "Enterprise" license holders and governmental departments may not file a claim for benefits through this settlement.

Claim forms must be completed by March 15, 2004.

More information on this Settlement as well as disputes may be addressed to the following:

Microsoft I-V Cases J.C.C.P No.4106

Clerk of the Court
San Francisco County Superior Court
P.O. Box 2821
San Francisco, CA 94126-2821

Class Counsel
Eugene Crew
Richard L. Grossman
P.O. Box 2837
San Francisco, CA 94126-2837

Defense Counsel
Robert A. Rosenfeld
P.O. Box 150
San Francisco, CA 94104-0150

All correspondence reflecting settlement disputes must be post marked by December 30, 2003

The court has scheduled a hearing at 10:00 AM February 13, 2004 at the San Francisco Superior Court, Department 305, 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. At this hearing , the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the court will consider them.

From the look of things Microsoft gets to come out smelling like a rose. The settlement assumes no fault or conspiracy on Microsofts part but a willingness to soothe old wounds by offering consumers a price break on future purchases and of course if consumers do not file claims for vouchers the remaining funds will go to public schools with large numbers of low income student participation.
Showing that Microsoft means not only to take but to give back without being forced by the courts.

Any thoughts?


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