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Microsoft settles Minnesota antitrust case

Microsoft on Monday reached a settlement with consumers in Minnesota to end an antitrust suit that claimed that the company had overcharged for its Windows operating system and its Office application software.

According to information posted to the Web site for the Fourth Judicial District Court of Minnesota, Microsoft now has a preliminary deal in the case. The court reported that the settlement terms will remain confidential until they are finalized in early July. However, the court said the jury that's overseeing the case has been discharged and that the trial process related to the claim has been completed. Microsoft released a statement, saying it has resolved all claims related to the litigation. The company said it was "pleased to end the case."

Company representatives said the official settlement will be presented to the court for preliminary approval in early summer. The suit originally sought damages of up to $425 million, and it was one of only a handful of state-based claims the company had yet to settle. Microsoft has agreed to terms in a number of antitrust claims filed in various states, including California, where it agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a class action lawsuit that claimed that it overcharged consumers for Windows.

The Minnesota case offered a unique view into internal operations at Microsoft, as numerous e-mails found their way into evidence during the trial, in front of Hennepin County District Court Judge Bruce Peterson. One such document was a 1997 e-mail note from Jeff Raikes, a Microsoft group vice president, asking billionaire Warren Buffett to consider investing in the Redmond, Wash.-based software company. Some observers have likened Microsoft's lucrative operating system dominance to a "toll bridge," Raikes wrote in the e-mail.

News source: C|net

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