Remember the California Microsoft antitrust case, oh so many years ago? A bit over three years ago (seems longer) it was determined in a class-action suit that Microsoft had been abusing their monopoly in order to overcharge for their software. Any Californian who had purchased Microsoft products between February 1995 and December 2001 could apply for a rebate based on the number of MS products purchased.
(Curiously, no one ever seemed to point out that Microsoft did not reduce its prices after this decision, nor did I ever see anyone question why it's okay for them to overcharge now when it wasn't okay then. That has puzzled me for some time. Perhaps questions like that show why I'm a programmer instead of a lawyer or corporate exec.)
Over the years since the decision I've periodically wondered what ever happened to the rebate vouchers we were supposed to get. But a few weeks ago they started appearing. I got mine late last week.
The voucher is only redeemable for purchased software (from anyone, not just Microsoft) or a fairly restrictive list of hardware: computers (but not components to build a computer), printers, monitors, scanners, keyboards, mice or trackballs. For a Linux user who builds computers from parts (to avoid paying the "Microsoft Tax" or to get a better price), it's a little tough to use up that voucher. Now where did I put the receipt for that printer I bought a few years ago? Or maybe it's time to buy a copy of Crossover Office for testing web sites against IE.
In any case, if you sent in your rebate claim way back when and haven't heard anything, watch your mailbox. They say most people should receive their vouchers this month (August). If you don't, you can find more information at microsoftcalsettlement.com.
[ 10:58 Aug 20, 2006 More tech | permalink to this entry | ]