A class action brought by various parties alleged that Microsoft had violated the Iowa Competition Law.
The terms of the settlement are not being disclosed pending preliminary court approval, which is expected in April.
The settlement concludes the seven-year case and will provide compensation to individuals and businesses that bought specified operating system and application software, including Word, Excel and Office, between 18 May 1994 and 30 June 2006.
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Purchases of Microsoft operating systems covered by the settlement include MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT Workstation, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.
Details for making claims will be announced this spring.
“The settlement will provide tremendous benefits for many people throughout the state of Iowa. We are pleased with the results of this litigation and we are pleased that the process worked so well,” said Rick Hagstrom, class co-counsel of the firm Zelle Hofmann Voelbel Mason & Gette.
Under the settlement, Microsoft will provide half of any unclaimed proceeds to the Iowa Department of Education, to help bridge the digital and technical divide in Iowa schools through the purchase of computer hardware and software.
“One of the best aspects of resolving this case is that we can provide much needed resources to underprivileged schools,” said Rich Wallis, associate general counsel for Microsoft.
A number of groups in other states have settled with Microsoft over its alleged anti-competitive behaviour. These cases fuelled the US Department of Justice antitrust action against the company, which was also settled in 2002.
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