update Microsoft said late Friday that it has settled a California class-action lawsuit for up to $1.1 billion, a move that would end the largest suit of the kind against the giant software company. The settlement, which arose from claims that Microsoft unlawfully wielded its Windows monopoly to overcharge consumers for the operating system, allows individuals and businesses in California who bought Microsoft products during a five-year period to apply for vouchers with values of $5 to $29. The vouchers can be used to buy most hardware or software products from any manufacturer. Although the maximum value of the settlement is $1.1 billion, Microsoft could end up paying as little as $367 million in cash to California public schools. If all vouchers are claimed, Microsoft pays the maximum. The payout depends on how many customers make claims. “Eighty percent of the (Windows) licenses were licensed to businesses in California,” said Richard Grossman, a partner at San Francisco law firm Townsend and Townsend, which brought the suit. “Businesses are likely to have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in claims. Even the smallest business, with 10 or 20 computers, will have a substantial claim.” Grossman said a firm with… Read full this story
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