[UCI-Linux] Update on UC Participation in Microsoft Settlement

Stephen D. Franklin franklin@uci.edu
Mon, 17 Nov 2003 09:55:50 -0800


(Apologies for cross-postings.)

Enclosed below is an update on UC's participation in the Microsoft 
settlement prepared by University of California Office of the 
President, Information Resources & Communications ("IR&C").

Key "action item" is covered in the last paragraph:

  "Although many University staff members have received email notes
  urging them to file claims, no individual claims for purchases
  made with University funds should be filed.  As is indicated
  above, IR&C is handling the process for the entire University."

-- sdf

Stephen D. Franklin
Network & Academic Computing Services
E-mail: franklin@uci.edu

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STATUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA'S PARTICIPATION IN THE MICROSOFT 
SETTLEMENT (Revised 11/12/03)

Background

In 1999, Townsend and Townsend and Crew filed a suit on behalf of 
four plaintiffs alleging that Microsoft had violated the State of
California's antitrust and unfair competition laws by restraining
trade and monopolizing the market for operating system and certain
applications software. The suit further alleged that Microsoft had
overcharged California software consumers. In 2000, the San Francisco
Superior Court certified the case as a class action and scheduled the
trial for February 24, 2003. On January 10th, the attorneys,
plaintiffs, and Microsoft agreed to a settlement, which will provide
up to $1.1 billion in monetary benefits to the class.  California
consumers and businesses who purchased Windows, MS-DOS, Office, Excel,
Word, Works Suite and Home Essentials 97 or 98 between February 1995
and December 2001 now have until March 15, 2004 to file claims.
Successful claimants will receive vouchers in amounts ranging from
$5.00 to $29.00 toward the purchase of the above products.
More information about the settlement is available at
http://www.townsend.com/media/microsoft.html.

Can The University of California Participate in the Settlement?

Class action suits like this one include a Class Certification, which
defines the class members.  The Class Certification for this suit
specifically excludes "governmental entities," and IR&C staff was
initially told by Gene Crew of Townsend and Townsend and Crew that the
University could not, therefore, participate in the settlement.  IR&C
staff then consulted with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to
determine whether the University is, in fact, a "governmental entity."
OGC felt that the definition of "governmental entity" was unclear and
suggested IR&C file a claim for purchases made under our Microsoft
Select and Microsoft Open volume purchase programs as a test case.

University of California Claims Process

IR&C filed a claim for volume license program purchases on October
30th.  This claim was easily filed because Microsoft had already
provided all purchase data on its volume license programs to the claims
administrator, and no purchase documentation had to be included.

Next Steps

The claims administrator has informed IR&C that no claim information
will be available until January.  If the claim is denied, the
University will have to consider the next steps.  If the claim is
accepted, the University will consider filing a claim for purchases
made outside the University's volume license programs.  Filing this
claim would require that documentation such as purchase orders or
invoices be provided.  If the University decides to file this claim,
UCOP will establish a procedure for collecting the required
documentation.

Although many University staff members have received email notes urging
them to file claims, no individual claims for purchases made with
University funds should be filed.  As is indicated above, IR&C is
handling the process for the entire University.

Prepared by Information Resources & Communications 
University of California Office of the President 
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