Microsoft Settlement to Send Cash to Mississippi

By: Cheryl Lasseter, WLBT-TV
By: Cheryl Lasseter, WLBT-TV

Gov. Haley Barbour is on the brink of calling a special session so lawmakers can iron out a state budget. They're dealing with a big deficit, but a nice windfall may be coming from an unexpected source.

With legislators at a stalemate over the budget, Attorney General Jim Hood brought news of some incoming cash.

"The state gets $40 million in 40 days," said Hood.

The full amount payable to the state from software giant Microsoft could be as high as $105 million. Ten years ago, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Microsoft for antitrust violations.

The company was accused of packaging its software in a way that blocked its competitors. Mississippi filed a separate lawsuit five years ago, and it has now been settled.

"I've been in contact with the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the house, advised them. And hopefully this $40 million we'll be getting will fill the gap," said Hood. "This is about 8 times larger than any cash settlement that any state has received."

Hood said that's because former Netscape owner and Mississippi native Jim Barksdale put some power behind the settlement. Sixty million dollars worth of the relief will come in the form of $5 or $12 vouchers for government agencies, schools, businesses, even you and me.

"It will mean a good bit of money, particularly for schools, in this environment. They can take their vouchers and buy as discounts on other computers or software," Hood said.

Citizens can sign sworn affidavits for up to five Microsoft purchases dating back to 1996. Proof of purchase will be required for any additional Microsoft purchases eligible for one of the vouchers.

Microsoft will make the affidavits available in the coming weeks.
In the next few days you can visit the attorney general's Web site to learn how to obtain the vouchers.

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