Microsoft Corp. last week reached a settlement to put more than 100 pending private antitrust cases behind it while, at the same time, scoring a huge public relations victory and increasing its exposure and installed base at schools.
The private antitrust cases were brought against the Redmond, Wash., company last year following the ruling by District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson that Microsoft had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.
If accepted by the Federal District Court of Maryland, the settlement will see Microsoft donate more than $1 billion in reconditioned PCs, services, software and training to some 14 percent of all the schools nationwide, officials said.
The proposal will result in a five-year education program that will provide cash, hardware, software, technical assistance and training to some 12,500 of the nations poorest schools, benefiting about 7 million students, officials said.
The deal establishes an independent national educational foundation to make grants to local foundations and community organizations for purchasing computers and software.
Apple Computer Inc. leads the school computer market in the United States, according to figures from International Data Corp. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the settlement was not about market share but about using the settlement to contribute to the countrys school systems. "The benefits can be used for PCs or Macs, for software for either PCs or Macs," Ballmer said.