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More on Microsoft Iowa settlement



More details emerged in late April about the software giant's settlement of the consumer antitrust case we covered here and here, distinguished for the plaintiffs' bizarre "lost innovation" damages theory. Notes Peter Lattman at the WSJ law blog, "The plaintiffs' lawyers �- led by Roxanne Conlin [of Des Moines] and Rick Hagstrom of Zelle Hoffman in Minneapolis �- seek $75.5 million in fees and expenses." Microsoft will protest the fee demand. "In March, it objected to the $22.6 million in fees requested in a similar settlment in Wisconsin which involved the same plaintiffs� lawyers. Some of the plaintiffs lawyers, Microsoft claimed, seek to be compensated at a rate of $4,702.50 per hour. Said Microsoft's lawyers: 'This is grossly excessive by any measure, and truly proves the maxim that human greed has no bounds.'"

As for Iowa consumers themselves, if experience is any indication, most will pass up their chance to seek reimbursement, and payouts to them will probably fall well below the $75 million the lawyers are asking. Microsoft is also supposed to make some gesture toward donating a substantial share of unclaimed funds in the form of computers for needy Iowa schools. In the past, however, school-computer-donation programs have often proved less burdensome to tech companies than they might appear at first glance. One reason is that the computers donated are not necessarily the latest and most saleable models; another is that school donations serve a helpful marketing purpose of attaching novice users (and school districts themselves) to a company's proprietary technology, guiding them into the role of future customers.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.