Court Grants Preliminary Approval to Iowa Class Settlement

DES MOINES, Iowa, and REDMOND, Wash., April 18, 2007 — Judge Scott Rosenberg today granted preliminary approval to the terms of the settlement of the Comes v. Microsoft class action lawsuit at a hearing today in Polk Country District Court.  Notice describing the terms of the settlement and what class members must do to participate will be sent shortly. The parties initially announced the resolution of this case in February.

Microsoft agreed to pay up to $179.95 million to individuals and businesses that purchased Microsoft operating systems and applications between May 18, 1994 and June 30, 2006.  Government entities that purchased products from June 2002 through June 2006 are also eligible to file claims.  This settlement dismisses all alleged antitrust and damage claims which had been raised in the case and which could have amounted to $1 billion or more.

Systems covered by this settlement include MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT Workstation and Windows 2000 Professional. Microsoft applications in this settlement refer to Word, Excel and Office versions designed for computers with the above MS-DOS or Windows operating systems. Iowans who purchased these products for use in Iowa will receive: 

  • Operating systems: $16

  • Microsoft Office: $29

  • Excel: $25

  • Word: $10

Individuals will receive cash while volume licensees will receive vouchers which can be used toward the purchase of a broad range of technology products from Microsoft, its competitors and others.

Each of the four class representative receives $10,000 as part of the settlement. 

As it has in other class settlements, Microsoft will commit half of the unclaimed proceeds in vouchers to rural and disadvantaged K-12 schools for the purchase of software and hardware.  In the interest of ensuring viable implementation of the school program, $1 million of the unclaimed proceeds will be contributed to the Iowa Department of Education to fund administration of the voucher technology program.  In addition, Microsoft is allocating $1 million of the unclaimed proceeds to the Iowa Legal Aid Society.

“This program directs money for technology to Iowa schools that need it the most,” said Rich Wallis, associate general counsel for Microsoft.

“This case concerned issues that have long since been resolved, and we’re very pleased to put this chapter behind us and to focus on the future,” Wallis added. “The world of technology changes literally at the speed of thought. Successful companies must spend their energy on creating new products and services rather than debating stale issues from 15 years ago in the courts.”

The Court scheduled a hearing for final approval of the settlement on August 31, 2007.