MS takes $1.1bn 'hostage' to freeze Lindows out of CA

Microsoft is holding up compensation claims from a quarter of million Californians in order to punish Lindows.com, and to coerce the class action plaintiffs "into siding with Microsoft against its Lindows competitor," according to a court filing seen by The Register. The document, filed on 21st November by Townsend and Townsend and Crew, lead counsel for the Californian class action consumers, points out that none of the claims being held up was actually filed via Lindows.com, yet Microsoft has held them "hostage" for over two months.

Microsoft settled the class action with a $1.1 billion settlement at the beginning of this year, with these funds to be disbursed in the form of vouchers to qualifying claimants. Microsoft gets to keep a third of all money unclaimed, while the remainder will go to California schools for the purchase of IT. Quite a bit of that money will end up going back to Microsoft as well, so even without squirming and foot-dragging from The Beast we are not going to be talking about $1.1 billion really - but squirming and foot-dragging there is.

If we just take the 250,000 claims filed so far and guesstimate an average claim value of $200 (which we think is on the generous side), then you get a total of $50 million, which barely scratches the total settlement size. Lindows' MSFreePC.com might, by collecting claims, have the capability to increase this total, but Microsoft is objecting to its intervention, and in doing so is road-blocking the entire process.

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News source: The Reg

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