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September 13, 2006

Iowans disdain Microsoft coupons, want cash

Posted by David Hunter at 11:14 AM ET.

Microsoft has been notably successful in cheaply settling antitrust lawsuits in US states by offering settlements involving coupons or vouchers good on Microsoft products. That isn’t working in Iowa:

One of the last remaining consumer class-action antitrust lawsuits filed against Microsoft Corp. in a state court is set to go to trial in November, and the company’s co-founder and chairman is on the witness list to testify.

That doesn’t mean Bill Gates will end up in the witness chair in Polk County District Court defending his company’s business plan, but it’s a possibility.

The lawsuit against Microsoft has made its way to the Iowa Supreme Court three times and unlike those in most states, which have been either settled or dismissed, it is scheduled for trial on Nov. 13.

Attorneys expect the trial to last six months.

Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin said Tuesday her experts have estimated that individuals and businesses have been overcharged as much as $453 million for Microsoft products in the last 12 years because a lack of competition has inflated the cost of the company’s products.

And here’s the rub:

One of the reasons Iowa continues to fight Microsoft in court is that Conlin has refused to accept a settlement in which Microsoft would offer vouchers for computer products.

“I don’t think Iowans want coupons,” she said. “I think if they were charged too much money and that’s what a jury decides, then they should get their money back, not a coupon.”

Of course, there’s no predicting how it will turn out, but funny money may not be good enough this time.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft

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2 Responses to “Iowans disdain Microsoft coupons, want cash”

  1. Microsoft’s Conlin takedown fails in Iowa antitrust case -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The conclusion was that on Friday, Polk County District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg ruled that Conlin’s actions were not unethical so it’s full speed ahead on the trial which is expected to start Nov. 13. The reason that tempers are running high in this case is that Conlin has refused to settle for the usual Microsoft voucher deal and is demanding cash for Iowa consumers. Filed under Legal, Governmental Relations, General Business, Antitrust, Microsoft [...]

  2. Gates, Ballmer to testify in Iowa -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] In the latest round of the Iowa antitrust suit against Microsoft ([1], [2], [3]) the presiding judge has ruled that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer will testify. That’s not a particular surprise since Microsoft had them on their witness list, but he has agreed to let them be questioned first and in person by the plaintiffs’ attorneys: Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Conlin won a strategic victory today in her class action law suit against Microsoft when a judge said she can call Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer as witnesses to help prove her case against the company. [...]

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