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Microsoft's lawsuit payouts amount to around $9 billion

Updated Twice the GDP of Cambodia
Thu Jul 14 2005, 15:35
* UPDATE Additional material at the end of this article.

MICROSOFT HAS had a long, a very long history of litigation, court orders, patent infringements and antitrust lawsuits against it since the very beginning of its history. We;ve managed to draw up a partial list of these.

The surprising thing is not only the number of those lawsuits against Microsoft - at one time, it had more than 130 pending - but more importantly, the sheer amount of money it represents.

The Redmond giant has been ordered to pay nearly $9 billion, a figure which is set to rise with some lawsuits still to be ruled on.

This covers everthing from the miniscule $2 million paid to the state of Iowa, as a fine following the 1999 lawsuit against MS for overcharging customers, to the huge $2 billion one paid to the Enemy, Sun Microsystems.

Some notable points that emerged during my research.

1. Many of the lawsuits, especially the federal ones, were settled with Microsoft giving away free vouchers and free software for the educational sector in those states. Some have argued that the 1999 lawsuit was a trojan horse to break the hold of Apple on that market.

2. Microsoft has several times invested in the companies which have sued it. AT&T - where they threw in $5 billion, Apple - $150 million and Immersion - $26 million.

3. Though Microsoft is keen to emphasise the fact that they are not guilty of any wrongdoing in many of the lawsuits, they would prefer to pay rather than anything else. This has lead some observers to speculate that fines has been a way to "oil" the progress of Microsoft. Note also that no one has been imprisoned and that apart from paying out huge amounts of money, Microsoft can carry on its business as usual.

4. The amount of money paid by Microsoft for PR and for the lawsuits by itself is in the region of $500 million during the past 10 years.

5. The monies to be paid are often distributed through vouchers and therefore, the sums below are maximums rather than effectively paid as a sizeable part of those vouchers goes uncollected.

To date, there are 48 lawsuits that have been documented online, 39 of which have had the fines clearly defined and the rest either to be decided or with undisclosed fines. Below is the complete list in alphabetical order. If there is any lawsuit that I missed or any other information or amounts that are incorrect, please do inform me. µ

Alacritech
Undisclosed 
Kansas
 $32,000,000
AOL
 $750,000,000
Maryland
 $10,500,000
Apple
 $250,000,000
Massachusetts setts
 $34,000,000
Arizona
 $104,600,000
Minnesota
 $240,000,000
AT&T
Undisclosed 
Montana
 $12,300,000
Be
 $23,250,000
Mythic
Still in court
Bristol
 $4,100,000
Nebraska state
 $22,600,000
Burst
 $60,000,000
New Mexico co
 $3,150,000
California
 $1,100,000,000
North Carolina lina
 $89,000,000
Carlos Armando (1)
 $8,960,000
North Dakota ota
 $9,000,000
Columbia
 $6,200,000
Novell
 $536,000,000
Discrimation Suit (2)
Still in court?
Private (5)
 $10,500,000
DR DOS/Caldera
 $500,000,000
Real
 Still in court
Employee fired (3)
 $ 9,000,000
Sendo
Undisclosed
Eolas
 $521,000,000
South Dakota ota
 $9,330,000
EU
 $613,000,000
Daum (4)
 $8,600,000
Florida
 $202,000,000
SPX
 $62,000,000
Forgent
Still in court
Stac
 $83,000,000
Gateway
 $150,000,000
Sun
 $1,950,000,000
Go
Still in court
Perma Te mps
 $96,000,000
IBM
 $850,000,000
Tennessee
 $64,000,000
Immersion
 $35,000,000
Vermont
 $9,700,000
Intertrust
 $440,000,000
Wordperfect ct suit
Still in court
Iowa
 $2,000,000
E-data
Still in court

(1) Carlos Armando is a Guatamalan inventor. The lawsuit was over a method to "transfer data between Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access using a single spreadsheet."
(2) "In 2001, seven former and current African-American employees of Microsoft sued the software giant for race discrimination, seeking $5 billion in damages and class action status."
(3) "A class-action lawsuit in which thousands of temporary workers filed against Microsoft. In class-action lawsuit known as Vizcaino v. Microsoft, workers accused company of improperly denying them benefits."
(4) South Korean Internet portal
(5) A judge in Baltimore told Microsoft to pay that sum to up to 500,000 customers who bought Windows direct from Microsoft

* UPDATE Thanks to Groklaw and Mr. Jaffar for their assistance. Ten more cases have now been added and the total in the coffer now exceeds the $9 billion mark:

Time Line Settled, undisclosed
Ticketmaster Settled, undisclosed
Priceline Still in court?
Goldtouch technology Settled, undisclosed
Syn'x $ 250,000
eLeaders Settled, undisclosed
e-Pass Still in court
Roger Avary (6) Still in court
Arendi Holdings Still in court?
Borland $100,000,000

(6) Roger Avary claims that Microsoft stole its idea of developing an Xbox-based yoga game, coined as the next killer app for the platform

 

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