Lawsuit wants Micro$oft to pay Iowans

Story: LXer Feature: Early results of the (Dutch) Windows refund surveyTotal Replies: 1
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Mar 12, 2006
7:57 PM EDT
Published March 12, 2006

quote : "DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands of Iowans, who bought computers loaded with Microsoft Corp. programs since 1994 could get some money back if a lawsuit scheduled for trial later this year is successful.

A class-action lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from Microsoft is scheduled to go to trial in November. The lawsuit recently made its way to the Iowa Supreme Court for the third time.

Roxanne Conlin, the Des Moines attorney pushing forward with the case, expects a trial of six months or more to be heard by a Polk County jury beginning Nov. 13.

“Our point is that Microsoft, through illegal means, eliminated competitive products, killed innovation and as a result, people are paying more than they would pay in a competitive world for those Microsoft products,” she said. “We’re saying to Microsoft, give us the money back that you took from us.”

Microsoft denied consumers were injured and said they have benefited from the company’s efforts to improve its products.

“Far from being harmed, we continue to believe that consumers are the direct beneficiaries of Microsoft’s efforts to improve our products,” said spokesman Jack Evans. “Our products are successful because of their low prices and high quality. Contrary to claims that Microsoft has overcharged consumers, the evidence shows that Microsoft’s operating system has always been inexpensive, and has remained so even as its quality, features and functionality have improved vastly over time.”

A flurry of motions have been filed in the case in the past week and a hearing is scheduled to be held March 24 in Polk County District Court.

The lawsuit is one of a few Microsoft class-action suits that continue to be pursued in state courts. Microsoft initially faced 206 class-action lawsuits across the United States. The company said 108 were consolidated in a federal antitrust case and 96 remained in state courts.

Today, there are six cases that remain unresolved that were part of the federal proceedings and four cases that remain unresolved in the state courts.

Most of the state cases were resolved when Microsoft agreed to provide vouchers to affected consumers to buy computer equipment and software Conlin said she wants cash for Iowans.

“I don’t take coupons,” she said.

She said the amount of money consumers get back if she wins the lawsuit would vary by the amount of equipment purchased, its value and whether it was purchased directly or as part of a software package preloaded onto another manufacturer’s computer.

In the states that have accepted vouchers, consumers have received in the range of $15 to $35, Conlin said.

If the case is won, Conlin said she’ll try to get the court to establish a process that’s reasonable for the consumer to recoup what they’re owed even if they haven’t kept receipts.

Most people probably have not saved their computer purchase receipts back to 1994, she said.

“People need to be saving their receipts,” she said. “People will be surprised, if they’re computer users, how many Microsoft products they’ve had in that time frame,” she said.

In the case scheduled to be tried in November, Des Moines businessman Joe Comes is one of the plaintiffs representing all buyers of computer systems preinstalled with the Microsoft operating system and applications software.

Comes bought a Gateway computer directly from the company and it came loaded with Windows 98, court documents said.

“The plaintiffs initiated this action to recoup the overcharges on behalf of all Iowa and purchasers of Microsoft operating systems and applications software,” court documents said."

Apr 09, 2006
2:05 PM EDT
Thanks Henke, I really appreciate your work.

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