Judge Rosenberg gave preliminary approval today of a $179.95 million dollar settlement in the Iowa consumer class action against Microsoft.  Unlike other settlements across the country, Microsoft has agreed to pay cash to consumers as opposed to vouchers for future purchases of software.  As I predicted, the settlement is substantial and actually in line with a previous Minnesota settlement from a dollar standpoint.

According to reports, class members are entitled to receive $16 for each copy of Windows or MS-DOS they purchased; $25 for each copy of Microsoft Excel; $29 for each copy of Microsoft Office; and $10 for each copy of Microsoft Word, Works and Home Essential software. Consumers do not need proof of purchase to be reimbursed for up to $200.

Microsoft will provide one-half of the difference between $179.95 million and the unclaimed cash and vouchers to Iowa public schools in the form of vouchers that may be used by the schools to purchase a broad range of hardware products, Microsoft and non-Microsoft software, and professional development services.

There will likely be an uproar over the amount requested by the Plaintiffs’ lawyers. Over $75 million in attorney fees and expenses!  Microsoft indicated in court today that it objects to the amount of attorney fees requested.  The judge will ultimately decide how much is awarded.

For details on how to receive your payment please go to www.iowamicrosoftcase.com.  The hearing on final approval of the settlement is currently scheduled for August 31, 2007.