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Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Microsoft May Settle Class-Action with Vouchers

A New York Supreme Court judge has tentatively approved a deal that would order Microsoft to pay up to $350 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with New York state residents who purchased software from the company between 1994 and 2004.

Judge Karla Moskowitz is expected to give final approval to the settlement at a hearing June 13, according to a Microsoft-New York class action settlement web site that tracks the proceedings.

Those who bought computers between May 18, 1994, and Dec. 31, 2004, running certain versions of Microsoft Windows software can receive $12 vouchers from Microsoft that can be redeemed to buy additional versions of Windows, according to court documents.

Claims for $5 vouchers for each software product purchased can also be made for packaged software such as Microsoft Office, Excel or Word. Those vouchers, too, can be used to purchase additional Microsoft software.

The claim forms can be found on the settlement web site. There are separate forms for those who bought computers in retail stores, by mail or over the Internet, and for customers who purchased through Microsoft's volume-licensing programs.

The New York case is the 15th and latest among a series of state-specific class-action suits against the software vendor to be settled in the years following the formal proceedings in the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust case against Microsoft.

The company has agreed to shell out vouchers to consumers to settle claims that it illegally used its monopoly to overcharge users for Windows and other software, but to date it has not admitted to any illegal activity.

Microsoft has not commented the news yet.

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