01.25.10

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$180,000,000 in Microsoft Crime Money Comes to Iowa (and Memories of $700,000,000+ RealNetworks Settlement)

Posted in America, Antitrust, Microsoft at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Monetary evidence serving as a reminder of Microsoft’s improper business practices which still cost the company too little given what was gained

THERE is a lot of news to run through today, so rushing directly into the key point, more schools are to receive settlement money from Microsoft for the company’s market abuses and violations of the law.

All four Palo Alto County schools join more than 1,000 other Iowa schools in reaping the benefits of a class-action lawsuit settlement. The Iowa School Microsoft Settlement program is the result of the 2007 settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by Iowa consumers and businesses against Microsoft software.

According to the settlement, Iowa schools would receive a portion of the funds not claimed by consumers, which amounts to more than $60 million. The funds will be distributed through vouchers for the purchase of new technology. Approximately 75-percent of Iowa’s public schools are eligible to participate in the program, based on their free and reduced lunch rates.

One thing is missing. It doesn’t say if it will have to be spent only on software (i.e. repaid to Microsoft, which makes this the usual sham) in order to keep schools glued to Microsoft. Here is some more coverage of this:

Burlington will receive $722,000 from a settlement with Microsoft Corp., according to school Superintendent Lee Morrision.

The money is part of a nearly $180 million settlement in a anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 2007. The suit accused Microsoft of overcharging Iowa consumers and businesses for certain products. The settlement will bring an estimated $60 million to Iowa schools to buy new technology.

[...]

If Iowa’s application is rejected, however, state officials will apply for the grant’s second round in June.

Iowa is eligible for up to $175 million.

It is the same in many other states. We previously wrote about Microsoft and Iowa in:

Also see our Comes vs Microsoft pages. More examples of this will be shown here later on (other, newly- victimised states).

Now that the founder of RealNetworks is leaving, memories return of crimes that Microsoft committed against his company (Microsoft needed to pay a lot of money in compensation). IDG says:

Real once provided the industry leading streaming media player, until Microsoft entered the market. The outspoken Glaser famously butted heads with Microsoft, testifying during a U.S. Senate hearing investigating the software giant’s business practices. Glaser argued that Microsoft’s media player purposely disabled the RealPlayer software when both products were installed on the same computer.

Real also sued Microsoft for anti-competitive behavior following Microsoft’s settlement of the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust case.

Here is where he came from:

Rob Glaser, the idealistic founder of pioneering digital-media company RealNetworks, is stepping down as chief executive from the company he started in 1994 after he left Microsoft.

Microsoft settled by paying almost a billion dollars, which is an implicit admission of guilt. From the coverage at InformationWeek we have:

A pugnacious but innovative executive, Glaser battled Microsoft, his former employer, as he pushed digital audio and video technology products to the Internet. Already a wealthy man from his days as an early Microsoft employee, Glaser later tangled with Microsoft and won a huge $700 million-plus settlement from the software colossus in 2005.

Had Microsoft not broken the law, it would not have paid so much money.

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