A California judge is ordering Microsoft to pay $US112.5 million to attorneys who successfully sued the software maker for monopolising a segment of California’s market.
The award for fees and costs comes in a case in which Microsoft agreed to allocate $US1.1 billion for California consumers.
A small San Francisco law firm sued in state court in San Francisco alleging the company inflated prices by monopolising the pre-installed software market from 1995 to 2001.
The deal enables anyone who bought a computer in California to get vouchers worth $US5 to $US29 per Microsoft product. Two-thirds of the unused settlement is earmarked for poor California schools.
The attorneys who sued Microsoft had requested $US258 million in fees and costs, up to $US3,000 an hour for one of the lead attorneys, Eugene Crew of San Francisco.
In all, dozens of attorneys and their assistants billed for 209,000 hours of work.
San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado, in a ruling last week, said the attorneys were entitled to about 58 per cent of the request. He said some of their legal documents mirrored the federal government’s successful monopoly case, and briefs from others who had sued Microsoft in other states.
Microsoft had urged the judge to award opposing attorneys about $US75 million to end a case that took four years to litigate, but said the larger award was fair.