Microsoft and Kansas Plaintiffs Settle Kansas Class Action Lawsuits

OLATHE, Kan., and REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 28, 2003 — A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging that Microsoft Corp. violated Kansas antitrust and unfair competition laws, Ben Barnow of Barnow and Associates PC, Thomas H. Brill of The Law Offices of Thomas H. Brill, and Ralph K. Phalen of The Edgar Law Firm LLC, class counsel for a class of Kansas consumers, and Microsoft Corp. today jointly announced.

The settlement, which received preliminary approval Oct. 24 from the District Court for Johnson County, Kansas, will make vouchers available to class members that may be used to buy any manufacturers desktop, laptop and tablet computers, any software available for sale to the general public and used with those computer products, and specified peripheral devices for use with computers. Under the claim process provided for by the settlement agreement, $32 million in vouchers is available to class members; the actual amount to be issued will depend on the number and size of the claims that are actually made.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Microsoft will provide one-half of the difference between $32 million and the value of vouchers issued to class members to Kansas public schools in the form of vouchers that may be used by schools to purchase a broad range of hardware products, Microsoft and non-Microsoft software, and professional development services. The vouchers will be made available to public schools where 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for reduced-fee or free meals under the National School Lunch Program.

It is estimated that 382 schools, serving more than 81,000 students, will be eligible to receive assistance.

Ben Barnow, co-lead class counsel, said, This settlement represents a significant remedy for the class with the assurance, and additional benefit, that reaches all citizens by way of the school voucher program.

I am pleased that this agreement will assist a number of Kansas schools in meeting their technology needs, said Dr. Andy Tompkins, Kansas commissioner of education. In a time when resources for schools have been scarce, this should be a welcome benefit for the students and staff of the schools.

Were pleased by the opportunity to help schools all across Kansas get the computers and software they need, said Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft. This settlement allows us to focus on the future and building great software, and avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation.

Details of the settlement are set forth in a settlement agreement filed in the District Court for Johnson County, Kansas. Under the settlement, consumers who, between Dec. 10, 1996, and Dec. 31, 2002, resided in Kansas and indirectly purchased certain Microsoft operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software for use in Kansas and not for resale will be eligible to apply for the vouchers.