Microsoft and South Dakota Plaintiffs Settle South Dakota Class Action Lawsuit

PIERRE, South Dakota, and REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 19, 2003 — Ben Barnow of Barnow and Associates PC and Mark A. Moreno of Schmidt, Schroyer, Moreno & Lee PC, Counsel for the South Dakota Settlement Class, and Microsoft Corp. jointly announced today that a settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging that Microsoft Corp. violated South Dakota’s antitrust and unfair competition laws.

The settlement, which last Wednesday received preliminary approval from the 6th Judicial Circuit Court for Hughes County, South Dakota, will make vouchers available to settlement class members that may be used to buy any manufacturer’s 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, $9.33 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 $9.33 million and the value of vouchers issued to class members to South Dakota’s K–12 public, tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 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, tribal and BIA schools at which 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.

It is estimated that approximately 219 schools, serving more than 27,294 students, will be eligible to receive assistance.

“This settlement not only provides a remedy for South Dakota consumers and businesses, but also benefits schools within the state by giving them the means to upgrade their existing computer systems and become more technologically advanced,” Settlement Class Counsel Moreno said.

“I am excited that this agreement will help many South Dakota schools meet their technology needs,” said Rick Melmer, South Dakota secretary of education. “I’m even more excited for our students, who will reap the benefits of having new technology in place in the schools that need it most.”

“We’re pleased by the opportunity to help schools all across South Dakota 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 6th Judicial Circuit Court for Hughes County in Pierre, South Dakota. Under the settlement, consumers who, from March 10, 1996, through Dec. 31, 2002, resided in South Dakota and indirectly purchased certain Microsoft operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software for use in South Dakota and not for resale will be eligible to apply for the vouchers.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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