Home > Legal > Judge OKs $1.1 Billion Microsoft deal Judge OKs $1.1 Billion Microsoft deal Eugenia Loli 2003-07-19 Legal 26 Comments A California judge on Friday gave preliminary approval to a landmark settlement under which Microsoft will pay $1.1 billion to settle a class-action suit that claimed it overcharged consumers for Windows. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 26 Comments 2003-07-19 5:57 am Can someone fill me in on how Microsoft overcharged for Windows? The news article didn’t have a lot of background info. I think I paid too much for my Lincoln automobile and would like to start a class-action lawsuit… 2003-07-19 6:13 am Lemme see court costs, lawyers, blaa blaa blaa. Consumers will be able to get a MS tee shirt for 45 cents off. I will be able to put that with my not useable $1500 gas tank blowing up Chevy truck certificate that the dealer won’t take, and a few other class action gifts that I never got. 2003-07-19 6:51 am Let’s see – Windows XP Home is what, $200? I just came from Libranet’s site and they want $65.00 for their distro. I could only imagine what they (Libranet) would charge if they actually had to write the entire OS, some basic apps (calculator, wordpad, etc), a media player, and a web browser. Of course, maybe I am missing something here ? 2003-07-19 6:52 am That’s only relatively speaking. Most people will either buy the upgrade to Windows or get the OEM version with their computers, and how much is that … $100 maybe ? 2003-07-19 7:23 am I’d would of forced MS to implament open file standards in their products. While I would of allowed them to keep their secerts I would force them to implament open standards so that saving across applications like Office suites would not be a chore. I would have the industry leaders come up with a proper file standard. The industry leaders would control, maintian and make sure that MS does not twist it or play any games with said open file format. Of course I would only do this if these industry leaders also agree to implament said open file format into their products thus making sure that only the best product wins in whatever application war that would break out. 2003-07-19 7:25 am I think we should get a rebate… LOL 2003-07-19 7:33 am Any way you slice this settlement. MS is still going to come out ahead. 1.1 Billion is what Bill has in his pillowcase. How much will the lawyers actually get, and how much were consumers real losses? We may never really know, unless someone on the inside talks. 2003-07-19 11:23 am Does the 1.1 billion Dollars already include the “consulting fees” for this judge or are they separate? 2003-07-19 12:01 pm ” Two-thirds of the unclaimed money will go to California public schools in a mix of donated Microsoft software and cash grants. Although the maximum value of the settlement is $1.1 billion, Microsoft could end up paying as little as $367 in cash, which is what it would owe to California public schools if no vouchers are claimed. If all vouchers are claimed, Microsoft would be required to pay the maximum, but schools would then get nothing.” Hahahaha. It is hilarious. M$ will give their artificial-overpriced products as part os payment to public schools… A CD media is US$ 0.50. And it will be good for M$ because childrens will remain addicted with M$ Software and trained as monkeys. M$ should pay all the money in cash and open your file formats to end the monopoly. 2003-07-19 12:53 pm They should have had the agreement be for Apple or Lindows software! I’m sure that the schools would get a “below retail” pricing for their voucher money too –streaching it even further. That much money would relicense half a state full of computers, then the schools could have enough base for developers of linux software to work with. Or better yet, the schools could just get copies of K-12 Linux and spend the money on open source projects They could even educate the students by having them help develop and test the software. That would let students have a chance at being Bill Gates instead of just getting free stuff! 2003-07-19 12:56 pm “…A CD media is US$ 0.50.” Well, less if you buy in large quantities 2003-07-19 2:02 pm This punitive action doesn’t even dent Microsoft’s cash hoard, which is on public record at around $42 BILLION. Way to go DOJ. Nice slap on the hand. 2003-07-19 3:54 pm Now, there’s a typical person that still doesn’t understand the PC market. Compare if you must Word and Word Perfect, since they are the two best examples. Word have a whole lot of formating features than WP don’t, and WP also have formating features Office don’t have. Now just say Office has Feature X which WP doesn’t have, and WP have Feature Y than Office don’t have. So I make an document using extensively Feature X, and send it to my friend that uses Word Perfect, via an open standard format. What happens? He can’t view the document. Then he sends a document to me that uses Feature Y a lot, and I can’t view it properly too. What happens? Incompatibility still happens. How to fix it? Everyone have the same formating features. But how would that be good? Where would innovation come in? If, for example, Sun, for example, wants to implement a new feature, they have to get the industry body that sets the standard to accept it – which means Sun’s edge over competitors like Office and WP is diminished. It is one thing to ask Microsoft to open up their format and another thing altogether thinking it is feasible to have everyone follow one standard format. 2003-07-19 4:02 pm Hahahaha. It is hilarious. M$ will give their artificial-overpriced products as part os payment to public schools… A CD media is US$ 0.50. There is no economic term called “artificial overpricing”. I think you mean artificial inflation. Which economically can only be done if the product is a neccessity (food, water, sometimes gas), which happens in a lot of third world countries where a bunch of dictators control the economy (e.g. most African countries, Palestinian Authority, etc.) But is it required to use Windows? You don’t have to if you don’t wanna. May not get work done, that a caveat, right? 2003-07-19 4:47 pm “Two-thirds of the unclaimed money will go to California public schools in a mix of donated Microsoft software and cash grants. Although the maximum value of the settlement is $1.1 billion, Microsoft could end up paying as little as $367 in cash, which is what it would owe to California public schools if no vouchers are claimed. If all vouchers are claimed, Microsoft would be required to pay the maximum, but schools would then get nothing.” Do you honestly think that more than a few hundred people in the entire state will actually go through the effort to have vouchers for other products sent to them?? The end result is that MS will either pay almost nothing or almost nothing AND get to have its product further entrenched into the systems and minds of school students, teachers and administrators. This is a freaking reward! Does this government not have one rational and objective participant??? 2003-07-19 5:30 pm Yes, we should look towards to the Open Source community for a great rational and objective participant. A truly objective observer would help immensely. 2003-07-19 5:55 pm Even though Microsoft is a monopoly they are still in the game to make a profit. I can’t belive somebody can rule and tell you how much you should charge for your OWN product. 2003-07-19 6:36 pm CroanoN: Yeah, open source is all about rationality and objectivity. Give me a break. Yomama: By your comments, I gather that you do not understand how a free and open market is supposed to work and that Microsoft has long since been behaving in an illegal fashion (the government even admits this, despite not being able to do anything about it – that problem is caused by the “build on shifting sand” phenomenon of our political system that allows one party to undo and disassemble the accomplishments of its predicessor). Every system has a certain amount of flexibility to it and a set of rules by which it is participated in (the US economy isn’t meant to be a wild free-for-all-let-the-person-with-the-most-money-control-the-rest kind of thing, even though that’s what it has actually mutated into). When a participant has exceeded some variable that affects the free flow of that system, that participant needs to be moderated or it will ruin the entire system. 2003-07-19 10:15 pm Well for home use, I don’t think Windows XP is worth more than $20 and for a boxed Linux I wouldn’t pay more than $10. If someone want’s me to pay more than that they would have to come up with an OS as stable and safe as linux, as desktop friendly as windows and that can boot/shutdown in no more than 3 seconds. 2003-07-19 11:17 pm MS did wrong. MS is paying. That is good. I hope Be, inc. can get a decent settlement out of MS as well. If Be, Inc. had been pre-installed by hitachi, dell and others (who showed interest) then be would probably still be around today. 2003-07-19 11:46 pm Sarcasm. 2003-07-21 1:57 am MS wasn’t convicted of bilking customers, MS was convicted of abusing its monopoly position. Customers were only indirectly affected, not directly. CA you screwed up, please make the punishment fit the crime. MS’s ability to continue to abuse its monopoly position should be broken. All you’ve done is give MS the ability to strengthen its position by forcing them to give away more of its own product. Fines should have been: 42 billion dollars. Punishment: break up MS Given the MS trial what’s to stop any other company from abusing its position in the marketplace in the future? Especially given that it’ll gain from a trial and not be punished? 2003-07-21 8:57 am Those who bought MS product should sent vouchers or else MS will learn nothing since they will benefited more. If only the school make the claim, MS will gan more potential user base since all those school will teach MS product to their student. Most of the student might turned ‘blind’ and only know MS product for the entire of their life. 2003-07-21 4:44 pm Have there been any updates on the Be, Inc. case? I’m anxiously awaiting the results, since I was a shareholder. I check our Bloomberg terminal everyday for news and SEC filings, but nothing new on the case. 2003-07-21 5:39 pm No known updates. I emailed Dan Johnson(?) via the Be.com site and asked if there are any updates to the case. He doesn’t seem to give a crap about responding to consumer emails since I didn’t even get a “no” answer. I got nothing, 2003-07-22 1:19 am rajan r : So I make an document using extensively Feature X, and send it to my friend that uses Word Perfect, via an open standard format. What happens? He can’t view the document. Then he sends a document to me that uses Feature Y a lot, and I can’t view it properly too. What happens? Incompatibility still happens. That brings up another issue: implementation. Ideally, the content should be readable by anyone, no matter what. The content should be separate from the formatting. That is the goal of CSS in *ML web documents. That is the goal of XML formats. An example is OpenOffice.org/StarOffice. That project saves documents as a compressed archive of files ($ unzip foodoc.sxw), with separate files for content and formatting. Open formatting should allow for that type of separation. The goal should be to allow the content to be readable in absence of any formatting (or presence of broken formatting). Feature X may not be there, but the text formatted with Feature X will be there.