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Microsoft

Microsoft Settles Minnesota Antitrust Suit 176

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Star Tribune: 'The Microsoft antitrust suit in Minnesota was settled out-of-court Monday seven weeks after it began, but before the plaintiffs even finished putting on their case before the jury. Terms of the settlement won't be disclosed until they are finalized and presented to a Hennepin County judge for preliminary approval 'in early summer,' Microsoft said in a statement. The antitrust suit in Hennepin Country District Court sought as much as half a billion dollars from Microsoft for alleged overcharges of more than 1 million Minnesota consumers and businesses who bought Microsoft Windows, Word or Excel software between 1994 and 2001.'"
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Microsoft Settles Minnesota Antitrust Suit

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  • by nberardi ( 199555 ) * on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:49PM (#8908776) Homepage
    What is Minnesota running out of money just like the EU? So they try to hit up the cash cow, I think we will see more and more of these suits comming out, and all that it is going to do is make it so generic that they will get thrown out on the spot.
    • by macmaniac ( 734596 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:53PM (#8908836) Homepage
      It's a pretty interesting application of anti-trust legislation: seems Minnesota tried to leverage that Microsoft was a monopoly which then put its competitors off, resulting in Minnesotans being overcharged for proprietary software, despite alternatives still existing.

      Seems like a bit of a stretch for a lawsuit to me. However, it must have gotten someone at Microsoft scared, else they wouldn't have settled it.

      • by nberardi ( 199555 ) * on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:01PM (#8908914) Homepage
        It is usually cheaper to settle out of court than put this in the public domain. Look at what happened to OJ for instance, he was found guilty, but everybody thinks he is guilty except in the eyes of the law. Microsoft doesn't care what the law thinks of them, they care what their customers think of them, and that is why it is always cheaper to settle, and not set a president.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          If they really cared about what people thought, they could have settled this whole anti-trust thing back before it started and avoided 5 years of news coverage. Probably would have been a lot cheaper as well.
        • Errr, except that OJ didn't really have the option to settle...

          And when he did have the option to settle in his civil suit, he didn't. And lost.

          I bow before you, king of screwed up analogies!
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I think you mean a precedent - oh wait - MS already run this country, maybe you are right :(

          MG
        • Actually OJ was found innocent in a criminal court, guilty (or rather 'responsable') in a civil court of law under a lawsuit brought by family members of the people killed, and then innocent again on appeal under that lawsuit.
      • However, it must have gotten someone at Microsoft scared, else they wouldn't have settled it.

        I'm not sure. They may have just as well want Minnesota to sign a document with terms that they never would have agreed to under normal circumstances. MN gets a cash payout, but inadvertently indemifies MS against all future action, lest they have to pay back the money. We all know MS can be sneaky about the fine print.

        • I don't think that will fly.

          IANAL, but my understanding is that any contract that allows one of the parties to break a law without penalties is thrown out in court. So a contract that allows M$ to continue overpricing and maintaining an illegal monopoly would not be valid, and in 2 years or so they could go back and do it again.

          Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't write a contract that breaks a law and expect it to hold up in court for your defense.

    • by mls ( 97121 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:54PM (#8908840)
      What is Minnesota running out of money just like the EU? So they try to hit up the cash cow...

      Well, MN is running out of money, but that isn't what this is about.

      MN was one of the original states in the anti-trust lawsuit. When the other states settled, we didn't.

      It just took this long to pan out.
    • Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yep, i agree. Will someone please address this issue? i know we live in a time when a law suit is both a legit way to "right a wrong" and a way to intimidate, hush, or exact financial ruin upon someone.

      How long will MS keep paying what looks to be hush money to make problems go away before someone notices that they are not chaging?

      That is, of course, only one issue...i'm worried about what nberardi is worried about: at what point will legit suits against MS get tossed out because it looks/smells like a
    • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:35PM (#8909219) Homepage Journal
      So they try to hit up the cash cow, I think we will see more and more of these suits comming out, and all that it is going to do is make it so generic that they will get thrown out on the spot.

      The suits against the tobacco and gun industries have opened the floodgates. Whenever a state needs revenue it'll sue the biggest unpopular company it can find.

      Personally I don't believe that a monetary solution is what an entity would go after if they REALLY wanted to stop Microsofts practices. They'd seek to punish them by forcing them to open their code.

      THAT would alter Microsoft's behavior overnight.

      LK
  • Good thing (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:50PM (#8908791)
    Or else Minnesota may have sent Brock Lesnar [tripod.com] and Jesse Ventura after them. They could easily beat Gates and Ballmer in a tag match.
  • by koa ( 95614 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:50PM (#8908794)
    Just throw money at every piece of litigation they are in? Are they trying to artificially boost their public perception by being in as little lawsuits as possible?

    • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:55PM (#8908858) Homepage Journal

      Does that surprise you? If you can throw money at a problem and that costs you less than getting in the fight, that's what you should do, as a company. It's not like they're strapped for cash.

      Besides, the plaintiff is under no obligation to take a settlement offer, so they must have found the terms acceptable based on their complaint.

      • Unless you're in the right [ibm.com], and want to prevent other bottom feeders [sco.com] from trying the same sort of tactics. In that case, you don't throw money at the problem, you throw lots and lots of lawyers.
        • And those lawyers are free?
        • The bottom feeders are already out against MS. Everyone who had even a potential case (The feds, the states, and europe) (individuals are covered via the large suits) has already filed a case.

          Therefore MS can only save money by getting rid of these things quickly. Once all the suits are settled, they are in the clear, because everyone who was against them has given up their rights by settling in the first place.

          There are no new people who can make suits, because they were already represented by the bigg
          • Everyone who had even a potential case (The feds, the states, and europe) (individuals are covered via the large suits) has already filed a case.

            Microsoft operates all over the world, there are still plenty of countries who could sue. Personally I'm hoping Canada gets in on the act, we could use a bit of cash too :)
    • I think the chief motive for MS to settle these lawsuits is that, written into the settlements is that, in exchange for money, Microsoft acknowledges no cupability or guilt as stated in the indictment/whatever. I think that's a standard clause of these settlements. Someone will have to correct me if I'm wrong.

      Has Microsoft not settled one of these? I imagine if they didn't settle, and therefore accepted blame (if that's indeed the case), it would set a precedent that could really cost MS some money in

      • They haven't (yet) settled the EU case. In fact, one of the sticking points to settlement was the ability to use that case as precedence for future EU cases--the EU guy insisted that it be allowed as precedent setting, and Microsoft rejected those terms. For exactly the reason that you mention--the EU already has 1-3 new cases lined up, on similar grounds, that intends to use the current one as precedence--which will mean both higher awards and a faster time to litigate.
    • Microsoft is settling as many court cases as possible so they have more resources available to market their upcoming technologies, such as Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows 2000 SP5, the new WMP upgrade with MS's music store, Microsoft's video iPod-like device, and the usual "any time now" Longhorn beta 1 stuff.
  • Other Sources (Score:5, Informative)

    by JaxWeb ( 715417 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:51PM (#8908799) Homepage Journal
    PC World [pcworld.com]

    Forbes [forbes.com]

    FT.com [ft.com] (A good one!)
  • As I live in MN... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:51PM (#8908800) Homepage Journal
    I've been following this somewhat. Minnesota was one of the original states in the anti-trust trial that went nowhere. Frankly, I'm expecting the same from this. Coupons, vouchers, and 'free' educational software that will be charged against the judgment at full retail value.

    Score one for the little guy? I doubt it.

    MS should have been broken up like Ma Bell a long time ago.


    • Score one for the little guy? I doubt it.

      It seems to me that any settlement on behalf of the people should result in compensation going directly to the people involved. And compensation is always half of a rememdy.
    • Also a fellow Minnesotan (and proud to be one), I can see why they chose to settle the suit. It may not have helped the little guy, but given Microsoft more or less got off from the Federal Government, chances of this suit succeeding are very slim. Also - MS has been paying out CASH for quite a few of it's settlements - from the article "Microsoft previously paid $1.55 billion to settle similar suits in nine other states and the District of Columbia."

      Hopefully this will result in that type of settlement
      • That doesn't say it was paid in cash. I think the OP has a very good point...

        jason
        • Not Paid in Cash? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Marnhinn ( 310256 )
          You're right. It does not specify that it will be paid in cash, but one would assume so for several reasons:

          1. Other recent lawsuit actions. MS recently settled 2 other lawsuits for a total of 2.04 billion dollars [1.6 billion Sun, 440 million Intertrust]
          2. Non-Cash Settlements have hurt MS. When MS settled with the DoJ and some states in November, provisions in the settlement prevented MS from engaging in exclusive contracts that would prohibit software developers or PC makers from using competing prod

      • Microsoft more or less got off from the Federal Government, chances of this suit succeeding are very slim.


        Microsoft got off because the Bush administration was elected into office, not because they case against them was bad. Remember that they were actually found guilty?

        I think the case was settled because MN needs cash right now because of the continued budget deficits. The fact that they decided to settle while the prosecution was still making its case (and before Microsoft even got a chance to defe
    • by Gaijin42 ( 317411 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:43PM (#8909358)
      The microsoft to Ma Bell analogy holds little water.

      Bell was a large company, broken into several smaller companies, each allowing to provide service to a given area. No restrictions were made on what type of product each baby bell was allowed to produce, or the prices each baby bell could set (other than the pricing regulations already in effect)

      The other large anti-trust case, (Standard Oil) was the same. Location of service were split into multiple companies, not type of service.

      Microsoft is a producer of goods, not a distributor of goods. The things that they do distribute (Software downloads, services) aren't really location based. As Slashdot is well aware, the internet has no boundries.

      There are 0/None/Nada precidents for splitting up a company based on product, or telling a company what products they can create.

      While MS did (and may continue to, depending on who you ask) act uncompetitavley, this power would not be removed by any logical splitup.

      If you split them into OS vs Office for example, the major source of anti-compete accusations in the past was bundling of features within the OS, or forced contracts on OEMs. Neither of these would be fixed by this (proposed) split.

      As stated, geographical splits don't really make sense for a virtual company. You could split up distribution, but MS doesnt really do their own distribution except for downloads. Everything is already passed out to OEMs or chains like Best Buy.

      The only thing you could do would be to make the internal departments act like Black Boxes to eachother. The office team doesn't get any inside info on the OS that isnt available to other developers.

      Even with that, MS is still a defacto monopoly. Very few buisiness apps or games run on non-MS hardware (Discounting mainframe and huge unix apps like SAP that MS isn't even competing with)

      In office they have a defacto standard, because everyone wants their files to be readable by as many people as possible. The new XML file formats will significantly lower the barrier for entry into that market tho.

      And finally, The fact that Mac and Linux are claiming such good marketing position, is in fact evidince AGAINST MS being given a radical splitup. If you really want MS to get split up, make Apple and Redhat say that they are closing because MS drove them into the ground.

      As long as they are around, all MS will get is "corrective" action.

      • Agreed. They've never been accused of using their OS "monopoly" to leverage their Office "monopoly." Split them up, and you two "monopolies" instead of one.
        • They have been accused of using undocumented Windows APIs in Office to gain some kind of advantage. However, I never saw any details along with such accusations. Office may be using undocumented features, but probably only the sort of implementation details that many developers accidentally rely on.

      • As long as they [Apple & Red Hat] are around, all MS will get is "corrective" action.

        Exactly.

        So the recent concerns [com.com] about the slow pace at which the consent decree's prescribed API licensing and documentation are having any effect on bringing about new competition in the server space are zero surprise to anyone in this forum.

        As mentioned in an earlier /. story, Microsoft is making a very pragmatic push to buy legal settlements as part of a business strategy.

        How much will it cost them to settle wit

  • Yeah, whatever... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shrykk ( 747039 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:51PM (#8908805)
    Microsoft are like that car company (Ford???) who decided it was cheaper to compensate burn sufferers and the bereaved than fix the gaping flaw that made their fuel tanks tend to catch fire.

    Microsoft can pay fines out of their petty cash, while perpetrating similar tricks over and over.
    • Re:Yeah, whatever... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Until some court decides: "Fine $1, but clean up your act." Happened to restaurant company I won't name.
    • Don't forget Microsoft previously paid $1.55 billion to settle similar suits in nine other states and the District of Columbia.
    • In all fairness to Ford, they were simply applying a straightforward economic risk assesment when they released the Pinto.

      Evaluate your risk of harm, evaluate the cost of dealing with the results of the harm, and compare with the cost of
      • D'oh!

        In all fairness to Ford, they were simply applying a straightforward economic risk assesment when they released the Pinto.

        Evaluate your risk of harm, evaluate the cost of dealing with the results of the harm, and compare with the cost of repairing the design. If it costs more to make the vehicle safer than it will cost to compensate those who are likely to be injured, then your conduct is arguably not negligent.

        What screwed Ford over was that the plaintiff's lawyers brought in the evidence that the
      • If x is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
    • Take the number of vehicles in the field, (A), and multiply it by the probable rate of failure, (B), then multiply the result by the average
      out-of-court settlement, (C).

      A times B times C equals X...

      If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
    • I believe it was GM.

      But that case was a joke. A drunk driver ran into the victims at an incredible rate of speed. Yet it is GM's fault? The victims just went after the deep pocket. Just like the MS case. (Jaguar and Panther cost more than XP, how is Windows overpriced?)

  • Settled for what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:52PM (#8908809)
    "Free" copies of WindowsXP? "Free" copies of MS-Word? a $4 coupon off your next purchase of $600 software? MS is just extending their monopoly, probably dangling a carrot in front of the schools, after all, who can fault them if its 'for the kids' ?

    • I'm not the only one who immediately knew what the settlement terms are.

      Free software for schools, and $5 dollars off your next X-box purchase.

      And probably a few million for the cash-strapped state.

      "Toss them a bone."

      It works every time. And it's back to business as usually for our favorite megamonopoly.
    • I know. Nothing annoys me more than when companies give stuff away for free. Costco was giving out these "free samples" but really it was a ploy to suck me into their monopoly. Needless to say they're on my boycott list, as well as every other company in the universe.
  • Why the gubamint? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:52PM (#8908811)
    I don't understand. If the people of that state were overcharged, why is the state getting a big pile of money?

    Could be the state got overcharged, but there are enough other cases where it works the way I interpreted this one to ask anyway.

    • by nberardi ( 199555 ) * on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:56PM (#8908868) Homepage
      For the same reason states got cigeratte money instead of the public for smoking and putting up with second hand smoke. Then they turned around and used that money for everything but the intended purpose. Which I really think what MN is hoping to do here.
      • Re:Why the gubamint? (Score:4, Informative)

        by plover ( 150551 ) * on Monday April 19, 2004 @06:08PM (#8909763) Homepage Journal
        No, Minnesota took their tobacco settlement money ($4.5 billion) and after enriching the law firm (to the tune of $450,000,000 which averaged out to around $3000/hr for everyone in the company, including the janitorial staff) actually put a pile of it aside for the intended purpose of preventing kids from smoking. They created a project called "Target Market" and they paid for lots of commercials featuring stuff like body bags being dumped on the steps of R.J.Reynolds Corp., etc. The campaign was supposed to be "edgy", "hip" and "relevant" and all those other current marketing words. They were somewhat interesting, but damned if I know if it worked, I'm older than that and I've never smoked.

        Anyway, this year the state eyeballed that big ole Pile-O-Money and said, "Hmm...health of kids vs. budget deficit and a no new taxes pledge." You get 0 points for guessing which one won. Research has shown that youth smoking is up in the six months following the end of the campaign, but whether it's a true cause and effect is anyone's guess.

  • I wonder.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:56PM (#8908860)
    Will the one million overcharged customers be seeing any of this settlement? Or is this just a penalty being assessed by the state?

    If so, I can see why M$ would settle.

    A win against them in court by the state would make it a lot easier for a class-action suit to also win, setting even further precedent in other states.

    • Will the one million overcharged customers be seeing any of this settlement? Or is this just a penalty being assessed by the state?

      NO and NO, the lawyers will get every penny of it.

  • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @04:56PM (#8908864) Journal
    Microsoft is going full throttle to settle all outstanding lawsuits. It wouldn't do to have a bunch of outstanding legal battles while you're throwing mud at Linux and questioning the legal security of the businesses that are using it.

    Regardless of how the SCO thing works out, you can be sure that MSFT will be using this FUD when trying to close deals with big business customers.
  • I'm glad to hear it. At least some states are sticking to their intentions of getting the money they were screwed out of, or screwed themselves out of.

    *begin offtopic*

    And yes, we need the money. The current governer has decided that his priorities are with the suburbanites, further widening the schism between upper and lower class.

    (BALLMER)TAX CUTS! TAX CUTS! TAX CUTS!(/BALLMER)

    *end offtopic*
  • M$ Settlements (Score:5, Informative)

    by blutrot ( 734054 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:02PM (#8908922)
    On the same case:
    ``Wash.-based software giant to reach trial. Microsoft has reached settlements in nine states and Washington, D.C., totaling $1.5 billion, including $1.1 billion in California. Cases were dismissed in 16 other states.''


    This leaves us with 24 more states that have not come to any decision or have not gone after Microsoft.

    Minnesota's citizens were overcharged between $10 to $70 a year. 9.7 million licenses were overcharged from 1994 to 2001. Silicon Valley [siliconvalley.com]
  • Is M$SFT Guilty? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheJavaGuy ( 725547 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:02PM (#8908930) Homepage
    Here is a qoute from the article:

    Microsoft attorneys said the company had done nothing wrong...

    Then why settle even before the plaintiffs even finished putting on their case before the jury?

    Could it be the case was compelling?

    • Re:Is M$SFT Guilty? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DaHat ( 247651 )
      Or maybe because they didn't want to go to court and have a long and drawn out case.

      Yes, if they fought it they'd have a chance of winning, but by handing out settlements now and then they save time and money that can be used in fighting other cases, or just sat on.

      No matter which option they choose, Microsoft has plenty of money to burn in such cases.
    • Actually, it's more likely that Minnesota's AG realized that they weren't going to be able to convince a jury of every element they needed to hit in order to obtain a favorable verdict.

      The situation goes like this:

      MN isn't sure they'll win, but MSFT isn't sure that it will be able to overcome local prejudice. What do you do? Give it to an unpredictable jury? Or make a decision everyone can live with?

      --AC
    • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:23PM (#8909103) Homepage
      Let me play the devils advocate here.

      Could it be because the legal system in the country is so screwed up that it is simpler for a company to just settle every lawsuit it faces, regardless of merit, than it is to fight the lawsuit and win? Of course you could just as easily argue that fighting the case would have cost MN more than it would get if it won compared to what it got in the settlement.

      There are two sides to every coin. One thing I think we can all agree to is that there is something seriously wrong with a legal system when the cost of prosecuting or defending a case is a significant factor in the direction a case goes.
      • It sounds like there's not enough competition between your laywers to push the costs down. But you have millions of the fuckers! Perhaps a recently laid off IT worker would have luck in the legal "profession".
        It's an old lament that our (UK) legal system is always becoming Americanis^hzed. A bit ironic since you nicked it off us in the first place... But anyway yeah, it's stupid here too.
  • by Patris_Magnus ( 771993 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:03PM (#8908935)
    There was other software available. The desktop users may have not wanted to try and learn new/other software or had an IT dept. that was willing to administer multiple party apps., point being that we should learn to live with our decisions instead of suing over them... Something to think about.
    • by NullProg ( 70833 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:50PM (#8909475) Homepage Journal
      Hmm,

      No there wasn't even if you wanted to. Don't you remember the Licensing restrictions Microsoft made the PC Makers sign in order to get attractive windows pricing?

      Typical consumer call to Dell (or IBM, Compaq, Acer, Gateway, etc).

      Consumer: I want a computer with OS/2 on it.
      Dell: We only ship with Windows.
      Consumer: Then I want a computer with Dr. DOS on it.
      Dell: We only ship with Windows
      Consumer: Can I have a computer without an OS for $100 less?
      Dell: No, we only ship with Windows

      Enjoy,
      • Funnily enough, I always managed to find a PC manufacturer willing to legally sell me a PC that was either OS less, or had something other than an MS OS on it. Am I really in the minority here?
        • I could always buy for myself a white box PC from a local Mom and Pop store (Naked PC in Microsoft terms) without an O/S. But at the coporate level we could never buy brand names in quantity (Dell, IBM, Compaq, HP etc) without windows, even if we asked for it. Hell, we were an IBM shop and couldn't get OS/2 PC's in 1996 because it would violate the contract they had with Microsoft to distribute Win95.

          It's not that IBM wanted to ship Win95, but when your OS/2 customer base is at 20-30% and your Wind
    • I can make the same comments about computer hardware. Dell, Compaq, Gateway, etc... were/are not the only place to buy computers. I don't know about you, but I believe the only "real" reason to go with a big mfgr. is for the customer support. I have been building my own pc systems since before windows 3.1. I have made the choice of having control of what hardware and software goes into the box over having an overseas technician at my beck and call. I have had that decision bite me a few times (hardware
  • Cost of doing business.
    • Yeah, unfortunatuly they seem to beable to afford any and all fines that get thrown at them...to bad really, since the idea really behind a find is to make you realize that you did somthing wrong.
  • Settled, eh? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Xerp ( 768138 )
    So thats pretty much an admission of guilt, isn't it? As well as a simple fine, wouldn't it make sense for the law to introduce checks and balances to prevent companies taking advantage like this again? What is to stop Microsoft overcharging and just paying fines? Oops, they did it again...
    • We live in a free market society. If I put a $1,000,000 price tag on my 1974 Pontiac and you feel that you need it soooo bad that you are willing to pay for it, hey shame on you. My point is, there was other software available during the time in question. If the decision was made my the govt. of MN that with all things considered it was cheaper to buy MS than to switch over to something else they should live with their decision.
    • Re:Settled, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Goobermunch ( 771199 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:20PM (#8909075)
      Actually, most settlement agreements have a disclaimer of liability (not guilt, this wasn't a criminal trial). If this had gone to the jury and an actual verdict been issued, then the court may have had the ability to set up a situation where further improper conduct on MSFT's part would have resulted in contemp citations.

      Yet another reason why MSFT benefits from settling.

      --AC
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:11PM (#8909006)
    Microsoft will give Minnesota 700,000 copies of Microsoft Bob.
  • by kclittle ( 625128 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:36PM (#8909234)
    "You don't get it. It doesn't matter". [wired.com]

    Supposedly this was Gates rejoinder to Steve Jobs when the latter said, "We're better than you." Gates knows in this case that throwing a bit of cash to Minnesota to settle the suit doesn't really matter, either. It's the same Machiavellian insight as to what it takes to win his grand strategic goals at the cost of a few tactical losses. "Oh, I over charged you for the years between 1994 and 2001? So sorry. Here's a 30% refund in 2004. Thanks for the 70% I get to keep! (And the time I needed to eliminate my competition, hehe...)".

  • And I wonder who did the pricing comparisons and research before buying this overpriced software.
    If that was done, then where is the reasoning to complain?
    Shop smart, shop S-MART.
  • Redefinitions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @05:50PM (#8909473) Journal
    Where settlement, read 'Microsoft agrees to give away some of its products (which it will claim are worth a total of severl billion dollars when really its plastic and amounts to potential lost sales) to schools where it hopes to lock in students at an early age (i.e those lost sales are actually an investment at Microsofts advantage).' - for example whats better: give 10,000 copies of office to schools as part of a settlement, or give 10,000 copies of OpenOffice (essentially identical) to schools and Microsoft can give a sum of money to someone else?
  • by wtoconnor ( 221184 ) on Monday April 19, 2004 @06:12PM (#8909811)
    I don't know about anyone else but I still have not received my CA settlement money. Paper work I sent in almost six months ago has not produced a check. I guess we have to bring up a lawsuit to get then to pay the money they already own us from the previous law suit.

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