Microsoft revealed today that it will settle separate class-action lawsuits in North Dakota and South Dakota for a total of $18.3 million, ending arguments that the software giant abused its monopoly power in those states. Microsoft made the deals a month ago as part of a six-state, $200 million agreement, although the company didn't reveal details of the North Dakota and South Dakota settlements until today. Microsoft says that under terms of the deal, North Dakota will receive $9.33 million; South Dakota will receive $9 million. The payouts raise Microsoft's total antitrust-related payout to more than $1.5 billion.
"\[These settlements\] not only provide remedy for ... consumers and businesses, but also benefit schools within the \[states\] by giving them the means to upgrade their existing computer systems and become more technologically advanced," Mark A. Moreno, Microsoft settlement class counsel, said. As with previous settlements, Microsoft will provide vouchers to consumers in both states so that they can purchase computer hardware or software. Microsoft will then pay the value of half of any unclaimed vouchers to the poorest schools in each state.
So far, Microsoft has settled class-action antitrust suits in 10 US states. The company still has 5 similar cases pending; 17 other lawsuits were dismissed.