Mississippi, Microsoft users could get $100 million from settlement

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The state of Mississippi and Microsoft have reached a settlement in an antitrust lawsuit. The settlement order could be worth up to $100 million to the state and Mississippi residents. (Click here to view a pdf of the full settlement order.)

Attorney General Jim Hood said a Hinds County judge on Thursday signed off on the settlement.

Within 40 days, Microsoft will pay Mississippi $40 million. Up to $60 million in hardware/software vouchers will be provided to consumers, businesses, all county/local/municipal government entities, public schools and public school districts. Mississippi could get an addition $8 million, depending on how many vouchers go unclaimed.

The state sued Microsoft in 2004 claiming the company engaged in anticompetitive conduct that caused customers to pay more for software than they would have if there had been competition. The lawsuit was similar to dozens of others filed by attorneys general across the country.

All Mississippi residents, businesses, county/local governments or schools that purchased Microsoft products or computers containing Microsoft products between January 1, 1996 and today will be eligible to receive a voucher of $12 or $5 (depending on which products were purchased). The vouchers can be used towards the purchase of any software or hardware product.

Software qualifying for $12 vouchers includes: Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME. The software qualifying for $5 vouchers includes: Application Products (i.e. Office, Word, Excel), MS-DOS, Windows 1.xx-3.xx Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT Workstation, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

A claims administrator will attempt to notify all purchasers, review voucher claims, and distribute vouchers. Individuals claiming to have purchased Microsoft software or a computer containing Microsoft software will have to send a sworn statement verifying the purchase.

Most high volume purchasers, such as businesses, local governments and schools, will have a licensing agreement to verify purchases.

In addition, Hood said Mississippi schools, business and others will get about $60 million in vouchers to buy computers, software and other services as part of the settlement.

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