A federal judge in Baltimore rejected Microsoft Corp.s offer to give schools hundreds of millions of dollars worth of computers and software to end the private class-action antitrust lawsuits against the Redmond, Wash., software maker.
Warning that the plan could have put Microsofts rivals at a disadvantage in the school computer market, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz said it seemed to "provide a means for flooding a part of the kindergarten through high school market . . . "
Microsoft officials said they were disappointed by the ruling. Echoing the companys position, Americans for Technology Leadership Executive Director, Jim Prendergast, said continued litigation is not beneficial to the technology sector or the economy in general.
"The settlement would have put an end to this litigation and resulted in over a billion dollars worth of software, hardware, training and technical support for our nations neediest schools," Prendergast said.
Opponents of the settlement had suggested that Microsoft should donate the value of the software and computers to the schools in cash, so that they could buy the products of their choice. The judge noted that he may have accepted the plan if it had consisted of a cash fund rather than donations of hardware and software.