Microsoft settles embarrassing antitrust suit in Iowa

“Microsoft Corp. today said it has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit in Iowa that, during its trial phase, had resulted in the unearthing of numerous internal documents and e-mails that were embarrassing to the company,” Eric Lai reports for Computerworld.

Lai reports, “Plaintiffs in the case, known as Comes. vs. Microsoft Corp., had sought as much as $330 million in damages to compensate Microsoft users in Iowa who allegedly were overcharged for software as a result of anticompetitive practices by the company. The terms of the settlement aren’t being disclosed pending preliminary approval of the deal by the Iowa state-court judge who is overseeing the case. A hearing on the settlement is scheduled for April 20, according to Microsoft and attorneys for the plaintiffs.”

Lai reports, “The trial, which began in early December, was a treasure trove of cringeworthy comments and messages from Microsoft employees. The documents entered as evidence included a 2004 internal e-mail in which Jim Allchin, then Microsoft’s Windows development chief, complained about the progress of Windows Vista and said that he would buy a Macintosh if he wasn’t a Microsoft employee.”

“The plaintiffs in the Iowa case also publicized the transcript of a 1996 speech by a Microsoft technical evangelist, who referred to independent software developers as ‘pawns’ and compared wooing them to write applications for Windows and the company’s other software platforms with convincing someone to have a one-night stand,” Lai reports.

Lai reports, “Half of any unclaimed proceeds will go to the Iowa Department of Education to fund purchases of computer hardware and software for schools in the state.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, the Iowa Department of Education will take Microsoft’s Windows development chief Jim Allchin’s advice and use the money to buy Apple Macs and Mac software for their schools. In fact, the settlement should stipulate just such a computer hardware and software purchase requirement.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Windows honcho Allchin retires from Microsoft on Vista launch day; now free to buy his Mac – February 01, 2007
Windows chief Allchin 2004 email: I’d buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft – December 11, 2006

26 Comments

  1. Wow – this is great. Lessee – due to the monopolistic practices of MS, I needed to by a whole bunch of MS Office stuff for my Mac only company – just so we could work with our DOS based clients (hey they’re good people, justbeing held prisoner).
    I figure we’ll probably see $8 to $10 from this case!
    Woot – break out the cheap beer!

  2. First: One state down, 49 to go.

    Say what? There was 20 antitrust cases. Iowa is the 18th case to reach a resolution. One of them, in Michigan, was dismissed. There’s one left in Mississippi for which a hearing is scheduled end of February.

    In other news, the EU continues to pursue antitrust legislation against Apple Inc and Apple’s iTunes/iPod monopoly has been found illegal in Norway. According to Business Week, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland are soon to follow with similar legislation.

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