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Microsoft settles Arizona class-action suit

Microsoft has reached a preliminary settlement in a class-action lawsuit in Arizona, which alleged that the company abused its Windows monopoly to overcharge customers in the state for its software.

The deal provides Arizona software buyers with up to $104.6m in vouchers that can be used to buy computer hardware and software, Microsoft said on Monday.

 Arizona consumers who indirectly purchased certain Microsoft operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software between 12 January 1996 and 31 December 2002 are eligible for vouchers.

Half of any unclaimed settlement money will go to needy public schools in Arizona in the form of vouchers, Microsoft said.

The settlement is similar to ones Microsoft reached with consumers in states including California, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas. In the Arizona settlement, as in the others, Microsoft denies any wrongdoing. 

The private cases followed a federal court finding that Microsoft had abused its monopoly status in the desktop operating systems market to the detriment of consumers. A settlement in the federal case was approved late 2002.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service


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