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Judge Kills Microsoft Private Suit Settlement

By John Virata
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has shelved Microsoft Corp.'s proposal to donate hundreds of million of dollars in software and computers to run that software on to schools in an effort to settle class action lawsuits against the company for overcharging consumers for its software.

In his 19-page ruling, Judge Motz said that the settlement as proposed by Microsoft, is questionable because it would innundate a section of the education market, kindergarten through high school, with Microsoft products, a part of the market that "Microsoft has not traditionally been the strongest player."

In his ruling, Judge Motz said that the settlement proposal was thinly funded and would give the Redmond, Washington company a competitive edge over its rivals in the education market. Judge Motz said the proposal might have been accepted if Microsoft agreed to fund the settlement with cash to let school administrators buy computers of their own choice rather than accepting donations of Microsoft software and refurbished computers.

Microsoft must now start anew in negotiating a settlement with those who have filed suit against the company, or fight the lawsuits in court.

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:antitrust, lawsuits, settlements

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