Microsoft school settlement tweaked

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Microsoft Corp., which had agreed to pay US$1.1 billion to settle antitrust claims in California, has dropped a provision in the agreement that would give its software away for free to schools after Apple expressed complaints and concerns, according to Bloomberg News.

At the first of the year Microsoft settled a lawsuit by California consumers that claimed that the company's near-monopoly led to higher prices. As part of the agreement, Microsoft said it would give schools a portion of the $1.1 billion settlement that didn't go to consumers. However, the settlement was blasted by Apple, who said it amounted to unfair competition and that schools should simply get to buy any technology products they wished.

Originally, Microsoft planned to give schools either free Microsoft software or cash to buy computer products. Now schools that get the vouchers can use them for any manufacturers' technology product.

"The change could avert a challenge to the settlement by Apple, which competes with Microsoft in the education market and helped derail a proposed antitrust settlement in 2001 over the issue of software to schools," Bloomberg reports. "School sales accounted for more than one-fifth of Apple's revenue last year."

The article says that there's no comment from Apple on the revised Microsoft agreement.

This story, "Microsoft school settlement tweaked" was originally published by PCWorld.

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