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West Virginia drops Microsoft suit

West Virginia will drop its appeal against last year's ruling in the federal antitrust case against Microsoft, at the same time...

West Virginia will drop its appeal against last year's ruling in the federal antitrust case against Microsoft,...

at the same time settling a class action lawsuit over unfair competition, in a settlement worth a total of $21m (£12.5m), Microsoft said.

To settle class action consumer lawsuits, Microsoft will offer West Virginia consumers $18m (£11m) in vouchers for hardware, software or professional development services to be spent on Microsoft or non-Microsoft products, said Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler.

Residents of West Virginia will have four months to make a claim under the settlement, and successful claimants will receive vouchers for either $5 or $10 depending on what they bought, he said. Half of any unclaimed vouchers will be given to West Virginia's public schools, he added.

In addition, the company will give vouchers for hardware, software or services worth a further $1m (£600,000) to state schools, and vouchers worth $700,000 to the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General to be distributed at his discretion, Microsoft said.

The remaining $1.3m (£770,000) will be paid to the state, in part to cover the administrative cost of distributing the vouchers. The deal has received the preliminary approval of the court of settlement.

Microsoft announced a similar settlement in North Carolina in a deal worth $89m (£52.9m).

Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service

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