Unclaimed MS vouchers windfall for states

In Vermont, $4.7 million for schools' technology upgrades.

Unclaimed vouchers from an consumer antitrust settlement with Microsoft have turned out to be a boon for 135 schools in Vermont, reports eSchool News.

Vermont public schools will receive $4.7 million in unclaimed school technology vouchers from Microsoft, just behind Montana and Minnesota. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia entered into settlements with Redmond, which ended a series of class-action lawsuits, where U.S. customers and businesses claimed Microsoft was violating antitrust laws by overcharging for its programs.

"I'm very pleased to have funding go to our schools," Education Commissioner Richard Cate said July 10. "In Vermont, $4.7 million is a pretty good amount of money."

The vouchers will allow the recipients to purchase new software and hardware from any vendor.

As part of these agreements, customers were to receive vouchers from the company that would allow them to purchase new software and hardware products of their choice, from any vendor. Though each state has a slightly different agreement, the consensus was that a large portion of any unclaimed vouchers--as much as two-thirds in some places--would be distributed to schools to upgrade aging technology components. The rest would be returned to Microsoft.