Judge Orders Microsoft to Pay $967K to Massachusetts

   Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ordered Microsoft to pay the state of Massachusetts $967,000 to cover attorneys' fees accrued during Microsoft's antitrust trial. Judge Kollar-Kotelly described the award as "generous," although it was less than half the amount Massachusetts requested. The judge declined the originally requested amount--$2,012,377--because the state's documentation and explanation of the figure were inadequate. Legal experts describe the order as a final insult to Massachusetts, the only state not to agree to the settlement in Microsoft's antitrust case, which Judge Kollar-Kotelly approved and is now overseeing.
   "I am pleased that Microsoft will pay for the costs associated with this antitrust action and look forward to upcoming arguments in federal appeals court," Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly said. "This case has serious implications for competition and consumers and will have a significant impact on the future direction of our economy." Microsoft also expressed its pleasure at the order. "We are pleased with the court's opinion to reduce Massachusetts's request for legal fees by over fifty percent," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "We respectfully disagreed with Massachusetts's request for fees on the basis that they did not prevail on the vast majority of their original claims. Our priority is to move past this case and to build more constructive relationships with state governments."
   In the court order, Judge Kollar-Kotelly criticized Massachusetts for its lax accounting practices, noting that some expenses were vaguely described only as "phone calls" or "airfare." And although the state provided more than 100 pages of receipts, the judge said the receipts were insufficiently documented. Nevertheless, Massachusetts received a larger payout than West Virginia, the final state to settle after suing Microsoft; West Virginia received only $300,000 in cash from Microsoft to cover attorneys' fees, although the company provided almost $20 million in software vouchers to consumers in that state. In addition, Microsoft has dished out more than $40 million in attorneys' fees to California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin.

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