Monday, August 17, 2009

How Much of Mississippi's Tax Money was Spent On This?

I received this email which further explains my "benefits." Keep in mind that I have been FORCED to buy copies of Windows 95, 98, ME, and Vista over the years that I had no intention of ever using, a claim which goes even further than the state's. Moreover, I can provide, in at least some cases, documentation that I never used the Microsoft Software, software which, again, I could not avoid paying for in order to acquire a computer.

MISSISSIPPI RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS, COUNTY AND LOCAL MUNICIPAL ENTITIES

Settlement to provide up to $60,000,000 in benefits


Read the summary notice below and if you want more information about this settlement, the claims procedure or your options, click the link below to:
Get a Claim Form


A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought against Microsoft by Jim Hood, the Attorney General of Mississippi, on behalf of the State and consumers, businesses and other entities in Mississippi. Consumers, businesses and certain other entities (including local governmental entities and public schools) who reside or are located in Mississippi and who, between January 1, 1996 and June 11, 2009, purchased a license for a Microsoft Operating System and/or a license for a Microsoft Application for use in Mississippi and who did not purchase it for the purpose of resale, are “Eligible Purchasers” under the Settlement and may submit a claim for vouchers. The Settlement additionally provides for payments directly to the State of Mississippi. The State, State agencies and departments (including State colleges and universities), and federal entities are not Eligible Purchasers and will not receive vouchers under the Settlement. Microsoft will distribute up to $60,000,000 in vouchers. Eligible Purchasers who receive vouchers can redeem the vouchers after buying computers, peripheral computer hardware, or computer software made by any manufacturer. Eligible Purchasers may now request a claim form for the vouchers.

WHAT IS THIS CASE ABOUT?

Attorney General Hood claimed that Microsoft violated Mississippi’s antitrust and unfair competition laws and thereby overcharged the State of Mississippi and Mississippi citizens for certain of its software. Microsoft denies these claims and contends that it developed and sold high quality and innovative software at fair and reasonable prices. The Court did not decide in favor of Attorney General Hood or Microsoft. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement.

WHAT CAN YOU GET FROM THE VOUCHER SETTLEMENT?

You are eligible for vouchers if you meet the definition of an “Eligible Purchaser” and acquired any of the Microsoft software included in the settlement, or a new computer on which the software was already installed. A complete list of the software included is available on the settlement website www.microsoftproductssettlement.com/mississippi. The vouchers are worth $12 for Microsoft “Windows 95,” “Windows 98,” “Windows 98 Second Edition” and “Windows Millennium Edition.” The vouchers are worth $5 for all other software included in the Settlement. Server software for computers is not eligible. Businesses and other entities, who licensed their software on a “volume” basis may submit claims for each computer their volume license authorizes them to use in conjunction with the software listed above. More information is available at the website below.

HOW DO YOU GET BENEFITS?

Simply click on the link above or go to the website to get a claim form. Then, fill out and send in a claim form postmarked no later than October 16, 2009 to get benefits. If you acquired up to five copies of qualifying Microsoft products, you can use a Standard Claim Form to ask for benefits, and you do not have to provide any additional documents or proof for your software. If your claim is larger, you can also use a Standard Claim Form, but you will need to provide additional information about your software. If you are a volume licensee (e.g. “Open,” “Select,” “School,” or “Enterprise”), you need a Volume License Claim Form. All the claim forms and detailed instructions on how to file a claim are available at www.microsoftproductssettlement.com/mississippi. Claims may be audited and penalties apply for false claims. If the total value of vouchers claimed exceeds the Maximum Potential Value of the vouchers ($60 million), vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with priority determined by the date of receipt of the submitted claim forms. If the Maximum Potential Value of the vouchers is not claimed, the State of Mississippi will be entitled to a cash payment equal to one-half of the difference between the Maximum Potential Value of the vouchers and the total value of vouchers actually distributed to Eligible Purchasers. For more details, go to the website below.



Notice the larger italicized text. The most you can get is $12 per license, and that is IF you still have the documentation/proof of purchase for the computer you bought 12 years ago. Do you even have the computer you had 12 years ago? I don't. Hood claims the State of Mississippi should get $40 million out of the deal. Also note that this settlement doesn't cover server software at all. At a maximum of $12 per license, that's over 3 million licenses. Basically 3 million computers. Million. M-i-l-l-i-o-n.

Bullshit. The State of Mississippi, the ITS department, who can't keep up with records of telephone disconnects for a month, has 3.3 MILLION records of Windows licenses?

I'm not at all surprised that Microsoft "settled" this way. I'd be surprised if they paid $1 million total when it's all said and done. Moreover, if the State Auditor succeeds in finding the contracts with outside law firms invalid, the state will end up paying them $3 million in fees that you can bet they have documentation for.

Maybe nobody won this lawsuit. But I know who will end up losing.

No comments: