Microsoft pays $10 million to settle suit

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it would pay $10.5 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit brought by customers who claimed the software maker used its monopoly power to overcharge them for direct purchases of software.

Under the settlement, U.S. consumers and businesses who bought Microsoft's software directly from the company's Web site or through direct marketing campaigns agreed to drop their charges. Microsoft, which admitted no wrongdoing, said it will pay each purchaser a portion of the price paid for software bought up until April 30, 2003. Microsoft and the plaintiff's lawyers estimated that the total value of the payout would amount to $10.5 million.

The settlement, which is pending in the U.S. District Court in Maryland, must be approved by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz. "Microsoft is pleased to have reached a mutually satisfactory settlement with these plaintiffs, and believes that resolution of this case is another step in our effort to resolve these issues so we can focus on the future," Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy general counsel for litigation, said in a statement. The settlement, if approved, would represent progress for Microsoft as it works to resolve remaining antitrust cases. These are based on claims that the No. 1 software company used its monopoly on PC operating systems to push prices higher or to harm rivals.

News source: C|Net News.com

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