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Federal Judge Rejects Microsoft Settlement Proposal

MARYLAND (voa) – A federal judge in Maryland has rejected a proposal by Microsoft to donate computers and other resources to U.S. schools to settle scores of private lawsuits against the software giant.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz made the ruling Friday, saying Microsoft’s proposal is not properly funded and could give the company an advantage over competitors vying for the schools’ businesses.

Microsoft offered to donate about $1 billion worth of items to poor U.S. schools to resolve claims accusing the company of inflating its software prices.

Lawyers for Microsoft said the settlement would have been more beneficial than individual payments, which they say could be $10 each. Others say the company’s liability could be much higher.

Judge Motz said the varying estimates played a role in Friday’s decision. The case is separate from the antitrust suits brought on by the U.S. government and individual states.

Microsoft was found guilty of abusing its operating system monopoly. It signed a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to restrict some of its business practices, in exchange for an end to the government’s case.

However, half of the 18 states that joined the federal government in pressing the antitrust case refused to join the settlement.

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