Continuing a string of settlements, Microsoft said it will make available as much as $31.5m (£17.2m) in vouchers to end a class-action lawsuit in New Mexico.
Under the settlement, preliminarily approved by a New Mexico court last week, consumers in the state who bought certain Microsoft products during a specified period will be eligible to receive vouchers that can be used to buy computer hardware and software, Microsoft said.
Half of any unclaimed settlement money will go to needy public schools in New Mexico in the form of vouchers, Microsoft said. In addition, if a customer claims a voucher but does not use it by the expiration date, half the value of the voucher will still go to the schools, the software manufacturer said.
The suit alleged that Microsoft abused its Windows monopoly to overcharge customers in the state for its software. The settlement is similar to ones Microsoft reached in 14 other US states. In all the settlements, Microsoft denies any wrongdoing.
Class-action cases in which Microsoft is accused of overcharging for its software are still pending in four other states.
The private cases followed a federal court finding that Microsoft had abused its monopoly status in the desktop operating system market to the detriment of consumers. A settlement in the federal case was approved in late 2002.
In New Mexico, consumers and businesses who bought certain Microsoft operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word processing software for use in New Mexico between 8 December 1995 and 31 December 2002, will be eligible to apply for the vouchers.
For details on any of the Microsoft consumer class action settlements, see:
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service