W.Va. Settles With Microsoft

W.Va. Settles With Microsoft

Darryl K. Taft

With written filings in the Microsoft antitrust case appeal due in federal appeals court Wednesday, the software giant Monday announced an agreement with West Virginia for the state to drop its appeal—leaving only Massachusetts as the hold-out state pressing for more severe penalties than a settlement agreement accepted by several other states and the U.S. government.

Microsoft said the agreement settles a class action suit in the state as well.

“We are pleased to resolve our legal differences with the State of West Virginia,” Microsoft said in a statement. “By announcing that they would no longer pursue an appeal of the district court’s ruling in the antitrust case, West Virginia has joined every other state, except Massachusetts, in accepting Judge Kotelly’s final judgment as the appropriate remedy in this case. Today’s announcement represents another step in Microsoft’s efforts to resolve the legal issues facing us so that we can focus on innovation and customer needs.”

On Monday night, Microsoft announced preliminary approval of settlement of the consolidation of two lawsuits. The total value of the settlement is $21 million, the company said. And it settles both class action consumer claims against Microsoft as well as the claims West Virginia made in the federal antitrust case. In addition, the settlement also provides that one-half of any unclaimed proceeds will go to West Virginia’s most needy public schools in the form of vouchers for hardware, software and professional development services, the company said.

And, according to Microsoft, additional terms of the settlement include $1 million “in additional vouchers to West Virginia schools for hardware and software from any manufacturer, $700,000 in general purpose vouchers to the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General to be distributed at his discretion to benefit West Virginia citizens, and payments from Microsoft to the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General to be used for consumer protection purposes” and for costs to administer the appeal.

Copyright © 2003 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in eWEEK.