Facts about the Microsoft California class action settlement

$1.1 billion in vouchers for consumers and businesses who file claim forms by April 28 deadline


More than 14 million businesses and consumers are eligible to claim their share of the $1.1 billion settlement of the antitrust class action suit against Microsoft. Microsoft product purchases made between Feb. 18, 1995 and Dec. 15, 2001 for use in California are eligible. The deadline for filing a claim is April 28, 2004.

"We encourage all California consumers to take advantage of this opportunity," said CA Editorial Director Linda Sherry. "You are entitled to the money, so go get it."

In July, Microsoft settled class action lawsuits brought on behalf of businesses and consumers in California. The lawsuits accused the software company of using its illegal monopoly to overcharge for both its operating systems and applications.

Consumers and businesses can collect vouchers to purchase new computer hardware, including desktop computers, laptops, printers, scanners, monitors, keyboards and software from any manufacturer, not just Microsoft. Consumers can recover the first $100 of their benefits just by listing up to five eligible purchases on a claim form and signing their names. No other proof of purchase is required unless the claim includes more than five eligible products.

Claims forms are immediately available online at www.microsoftcalsettlement.com. You can call 1-800-203-9995 to request a form. If you are a registered user of Microsoft products, you may receive notice of the settlement via mail or email.

Only purchases made between Feb. 18, 1995 and Dec. 15, 2001 for use in California are eligible. Operating systems include MS-DOS or Windows. The eligible applications software includes Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, Works Suite and Home Essentials 97 and 98. The amount per copy is $16 for Windows or MS-DOS; $26 for Excel; $29 for Microsoft Office; and $5 for Microsoft Word, Works Suite or Home Essentials.

Businesses with Microsoft volume licensing programs need only check a box and sign their names on the claim form.

The $1.1 billion settlement, entirely designated for claimants, is believed to represent the largest recovery of a monopoly overcharge ever achieved in the U.S. and one of the largest recovery ever under California antitrust laws. It represents a refund of 22 percent of the money spent by California consumers and businesses on Microsoft operating systems and applications over a seven-year period.Attorney fees will be determined by the court and will be paid by Microsoft on top of the $1.1 billion class benefit.

Microsoft will keep one-third of the $1.1 billion that is not claimed by consumers or businesses. Two-thirds of the remaining amount will be used to purchase computer products and services for those California public schools that serve a high percentage of students from underprivileged households.

The attorney on the settlement is the San Francisco law firm of Townsend and Townsend and Crew.




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