The settlement’s dollar amount wasn’t released. Some of its provisions will be resolved in binding arbitration, with the final settlement presented to the state court judge by July 1, said plaintiffs attorney Richard Hagstrom.
Class-action antitrust cases are still pending in Iowa, New Mexico, Vermont, Nebraska and Massachusetts, while cases in New York, Ohio and Wisconsin have either been dismissed or denied class-action status, but the plaintiffs are appealing, said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake.
Earlier this month, Microsoft settled with two rivals. It agreed to pay $440 million to InterTrust Technologies to settle a patent infringement suit over technology for protecting digital content against piracy. And it agreed to pay Sun Microsystems $1.6 billion to settle a private antitrust suit and resolve patent claims.
The Minnesota suit alleged that Microsoft violated state antitrust law by overcharging for Windows and its Excel and Word programs. The company said its prices had dropped.
The case was the first state-level class-action suit against Microsoft to go to trial. Settlement has been the norm in such cases, said Mark Ostrau, co-chair of the antitrust group with the technology law firm Fenwick & West.
“These are all going to settle. It’s just a question of when,” he said. Microsoft might take a few cases to trial to show plaintiffs that it’s willing to fight.