MSfreePC.com Donating Money to Mozilla in Conjunction with $1.1 Billion Microsoft-California Settlement
Saturday November 8th, 2003
napolj2 writes: "Those California residents who qualify for the $1.1 billion MS antitrust settlement can choose to have money donated to open source projects, including Mozilla, at a website set up by Lindows."
Microsoft antagoniser Lindows.com set up MSfreePC.com as an alternative to the standard claims procedure agreed by Microsoft and Towsend and Towsend and Crew, lawyers for the plantiffs. Whenever a qualifying consumer uses the site to claim his or her share of the legal settlement, MSfreePC.com will contribute 10% of the value of the claim to Mozilla or one of four other open-source projects, including Debian, KDE, GNOME and OpenOffice.org.
The $1.1 billion class action settlement applies to individuals or businesses who purchased Windows, MS-DOS, Office, Excel, Word, Works Suit, Home Essentials 97 or Home Essentials 98 for use in California between February 18th 1995 and December 15th 2001. If they follow the standard claims procedure, consumers can use their share of the settlement to pay for computers, hardware and software from any manufacturer. This process involves filling in a claims form (available from www.microsoftcalsettlement.com) before March 15th next year, receiving vouchers, purchasing computer-related products and sending in the vouchers (together with receipts for the goods) to the Claims Administrator, who will then issue cheques equivalent to the the value of the vouchers used. Alternatively, receipts for computers, hardware and software purchased after July 18th this year can be sent in with the claims form to bypass the voucher stage altogether. No vouchers or cheques will be issued before 2004.
Lindows.com maintain that this is far too complicated and set up MSfreePC.com to streamline the process. Visitors use an Instant Settlement Wizard to see if they qualify for a share of the settlement, which Lindows.com credit to them instantly. Claimants use this credit to purchase products from a list of Lindows.com-approved software, including LindowsOS and StarOffice. MSfreePC.com then claim the portion of the settlement owed to each consumer on his or her behalf. Only consumers who bought between two and five Microsoft products during the qualifying period can use the site to make a claim.
As well as donations to open-source projects, MSfreePC.com are also offering the first 10,000 people who claim before November 15th a free low-end PC, which normally retails for $169. However, like the donations, the free PCs will not be dispatched until Lindows.com receive the cheques from the Claims Administrator, which will not happen before next June.
Microsoft have accused Lindows.com of exploiting the claims process for marketing purposes. Lindows.com say that they are simply trying to encourage as many people as possible to claim, pointing out that Microsoft get to keep one-third of the unclaimed settlement money (two-thirds goes to Californian schools).
More information about the MSfreePC.com process is available from the MSfreePC.com FAQ and Flash presentation. Details about the standard claims procedure can be found on a page from Towsend and Towsend and Crew or the Microsoft-California Class Action Settlement FAQ, which is part of the official claims site.
Sunday November 9th, 2003 10:47 AM
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MSFreePC looks like another one of Lindows' crappy marketing schemes to get you purchase their lame operating system (even by linux standards). The pages leading up to the actual qualification process suggest some option's for using your newly aquired settlement money; purchase LindowsOS, LindowsCD, Lindows Software Lib, StarOffice, or a 100 something bargain bin pc...bleh. Is it just me or do all sites associated with Lindows take their design cues from spam/scam domains?? I'm wondering when a Flash animated ad banner is going to appear, notifying me as the lucky winner of a laser-pen keychain...