REDMOND, Wash., April 15, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. confirmed Tuesday, April 15, that a settlement has been reached to resolve class action lawsuits alleging that Microsoft violated Florida's antitrust and unfair competition laws.
The settlement was filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, and Judge Henry H. Harnage has given preliminary approval to the settlement.
The settlement provides benefits to consumers and businesses that purchased licenses for Microsoft® operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software between Nov. 16, 1995, and Dec. 31, 2002, for use in the state of Florida.
The settlement provides up to a maximum amount of $202 million, which may be claimed and distributed to class action members in the form of vouchers that may be used to buy any manufacturer's desktop, laptop or tablet computers running any operating system, or any software used with those computer products.
Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will provide one-half of any unclaimed settlement proceeds to Florida's most needy public schools in the form of vouchers. Schools will be able to use these vouchers to purchase a wide range of computer equipment, software and training from any manufacturer.
Microsoft estimates that more than 1,600 schools, serving more than 695,000 Florida students, will be eligible. This represents approximately one-third of all Florida students.
"This is great news for schools all across Florida. Given the tough budget environment, the timing is particularly helpful. This program will provide badly needed resources for the schools that need it most and help bridge the digital divide for those students," said Bill Piotrowski, executive director of Technology & Information Services for Leon District Schools in Tallahassee. "We've seen firsthand how Microsoft's products can help make our classrooms and our students more productive, both in school and in their jobs. This program will be a real benefit to our schools and our communities as a whole."
"We're pleased by the opportunity to help hundreds of schools all across Florida get the computers and software they need," said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. "This settlement allows us to focus on the future and building great software, and avoids the cost and uncertainty of a lengthy trial."
The court has set a hearing date of Nov. 24, 2003 for final approval of the settlement.
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