HELENA, Mont., and REDMOND, Wash., May 5, 2003 — The Meloy law firm of Helena, lead counsel for a proposed class of Montana consumers, and Microsoft Corp. jointly announced today that a settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging that Microsoft Corp. violated Montana's antitrust and unfair competition laws .
The settlement, which received preliminary approval from the Montana First District Court on March 25, will provide up to $12.3 million to class members in the form of vouchers that may be used to buy any manufacturer's desktop, laptop and tablet computers, any software used with those computer products, and specified peripheral devices for use with computers.
Microsoft will donate one-half of any unclaimed settlement proceeds to Montana's most needy public schools in the form of vouchers that may be used to purchase a broad range of hardware products, Microsoft® and non-Microsoft software, and professional development services.
The company estimates that 325 schools, serving more than 38,325 students, will be eligible to receive assistance. This represents nearly one quarter of all Montana students.
Mike Meloy, attorney for the plaintiffs, said, "This settlement benefits Montana consumers, businesses and schools. We are proud to have achieved this result."
"I am delighted that a significant portion of Microsoft settlement will directly benefit Montana school children," said Linda McCulloch, state superintendent of the Montana Office of Public Instruction. "All our schools are facing daunting budget problems. This settlement is most welcome and will be put to good use in classrooms across Montana."
Bruce Messinger, superintendent of Helena Public Schools, added, "I am pleased the Microsoft settlement will be used to provide technology products to promote learning in Montana schools. I am especially impressed that resources from the settlement can be used to pay for professional development for Montana teachers and enrich the learning environment through the use of appropriate technology."
"We're pleased by the opportunity to help schools all across Montana get the computers and software they need," said Brad Smith general counsel for Microsoft. "This settlement allows us to focus on the future and building great software, and avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation."
Details of the settlement are set forth in a settlement agreement filed in the Montana First District Court, Lewis and Clark County. Under the settlement, consumers who purchased Microsoft operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software between March 28, 1996, and Aug. 31, 2002, for use in Montana will be eligible to apply for the vouchers.
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