WinInfo Daily UPDATE, April 20, 2004

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In the News

- Microsoft Settles Minnesota Lawsuit
- Microsoft Releases OneNote 2003 SP1 Preview

==== In the News ====

by Keith Furman, [email protected]

Microsoft Settles Minnesota Lawsuit

Ending a trial that most likely would have put Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer on the stand, Microsoft announced that it has settled a Minnesota class-action antitrust lawsuit. Minnesota consumers filed the lawsuit against the software giant in the wake of its federal antitrust trial, claiming that they were overcharged for Windows and Microsoft Office applications in violation of state antitrust laws and seeking as much as $425 million in damages. At the time of the settlement, the case was in progress in front of a jury and was expected to last a few more weeks. Terms of the settlement haven't been finalized, but Microsoft representatives said that both parties will present the final settlement details in early summer.
The antitrust case was one of the few lawsuits Microsoft has faced recently that the company wasn't able to settle before it headed to trial. The company has paid more than $1.1 billion to settle similar lawsuits throughout the country, and antitrust cases in 16 states have been dismissed. Microsoft has been using its $50 billion cash reserve to settle pending legal action. For instance, earlier this month, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems settled long-running litigation that resulted in Microsoft paying Sun almost $2 billion. And last week, Microsoft settled an InterTrust Technologies patent-violation lawsuit related to Digital Rights Management (DRM) for $440 million.
Even with these recent high-profile settlements, the company isn't out of the legal woods yet, and Microsoft's legal teams will continue to stay busy with numerous antitrust-related cases. Microsoft is currently waiting for the results of its appeal of last month's European Union (EU) antitrust ruling, which includes a $613 million fine and a requirement that Microsoft release a modified version of Windows in Europe. In addition, streaming-media company RealNetworks and a class of consumers in Nebraska are suing Microsoft for related antitrust violations. Don't be surprised to see these lawsuits settled soon.

Microsoft Releases OneNote 2003 SP1 Preview

In response to customer feedback, Microsoft has released a preview of Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1). OneNote 2003, which debuted as part of the Microsoft Office System, lets you use a keyboard or Tablet PC stylus to input notes in a free-form fashion that's similar to taking notes on paper. The preview includes technical updates as well as feature enhancements that the company culled largely from feedback from newsgroups, surveys, focus groups, and customer visits.
"We went through the list of top requests and did everything that wasn't deeply invasive," Group Program Manager Chris Pratley told Paul Thurrott recently during a OneNote 2003 SP1 briefing. "We were able to make lots of changes people requested to take off the rough edges of the product. It was nice to have a quick-turnaround service pack where we could address these concerns."
The update contains a slew of features that concentrate on rich media, extensibility, better integration with Office, improved sharing and security, improved organization, refined searching, and Tablet PC enhancements. Some of the notable new features include:
- the ability to record video notes
- a new developer API
- the ability to insert a document from Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, or Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 in a OneNote 2003 document
- real-time OneNote 2003 document sharing
- password protection and encryption
- an improved UI
- the ability to assign names to sub-pages and resize page tabs
Microsoft will release OneNote 2003 SP1 shortly after Microsoft Office System SP1 is released this summer. The preview is available for download now on the Microsoft Web site; note that it's a whopping 84MB download.

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