Microsoft Settles Florida Suit for $200 Million

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it would pay up to $202 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by consumers in Florida that claimed the world's largest software maker had abused its monopoly and overcharged for software.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it would offer vouchers to consumers and businesses that purchased licenses for Microsoft's Windows operating system, Office, word processing or spreadsheet software between Nov. 16, 1995, and Dec. 31, 2002 for use in Florida.

One-half of any unclaimed settlement vouchers, which can be used to buy any manufacturer or software maker's products, will be donated to Florida's school system, Microsoft said.

In January, Microsoft had settled the largest claim brought against it in a state with an agreement to pay up to $1.1 billion to 13 million eligible California businesses and consumers.

In that settlement, Microsoft agreed to pay two-thirds of any unclaimed settlement proceeds to California's school system.

Microsoft cleared its largest legal hurdle last November when a federal judge endorsed its antitrust settlement with the federal government.

The court has set a hearing date of Nov. 24, 2003 for final approval of the Florida settlement.

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