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Microsoft Settles Iowa Lawsuit

Microsoft Corp. agreed Wednesday to pay Iowans up to $180 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed the company had a monopoly that cost the state's citizens millions of dollars extra for software products.

The $179.5 million settlement means individuals in Iowa who bought certain Microsoft products between 1994 and 2006 will be eligible for cash. Companies with multiple copies can seek vouchers that will enable them to buy computer equipment and software. The amount that can be claimed will depend on which product and how many copies were purchased during the 12-year period.

For each copy of Microsoft Windows or MS-DOS, customers can claim $16 per copy, Microsoft Excel is worth $25 a copy and Microsoft Office, $29 a copy.

For Word, Works and Home Essential software, consumers can claim $10 a copy, according to the agreement.

No proof of purchase will be required for online claims of up to $100 or for mail claims of up to $200. Claimants will be required to sign a legal document saying their claim is accurate. Lying can bring a charge of perjury.

Attorneys Roxanne Conlin, of Des Moines, and Rich Hagstrom of Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette LLP of Minneapolis, filed the Iowa lawsuit in 2000. The case has been in litigation since and has gone to the Iowa Supreme Court three times for various legal issues.

The lawsuit claimed Microsoft engaged in illegal monopolization and anticompetitive conduct between 1994 and 2006 that caused customers to pay more for software than they would have if there had been competition.

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