applEcon

Applied Economic Consultants

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Case Studies

Class Action Cases Against Microsoft

Antitrust, liability, causation, damages, and class certification for plaintiffs

U.S. vs. Microsoft concluded that Microsoft had exercised power over PC operating system prices, but awarded no damages to consumers.  Consumers in seven states received over $1.6 billion in settlements from Microsoft from antitrust suits that relied on applEcon for its liability and damages expertise.

applEcon’s first and largest state case on behalf of consumers against Microsoft was filed nearly a year before Judge Jackson found Microsoft liable in U.S. v. Microsoft.  We played a central role in defeating an attempt to co-opt our California clients’ case in a settlementproposed in federal court by Microsoft and MDL attorneys.

The California plaintiffs, supported by applEcon, broke new ground by alleging that Microsoft had illegal monopolies in desktop word processing and spreadsheet software, in addition to its PC operating systems monopoly.  applEcon’s expert witness provided testimony on class certification, overcharge damages, and causation.  Our research staff provided the liability expert economist’s support.  California consumers and schools received from Microsoft a settlement valued at $1.1 billion.

Subsequently-filed indirect purchaser cases against Microsoft in Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Massachusetts brought the total value of settlements won in cases supported by applEcon to $1.6 billion.

Most recently, in an event rare in Canadian jurisprudence, our clients in British Columbia achieved certification of a class of indirect purchasers of Microsoft software.  The damages analysis in our previous cases to which applEcon’s witness testified in Vancouver was described by our clients as a “dream record” for class certification.  The British Columbia Supreme Court’s Reasons for Judgment, referring to applEcon’s prior damages work, said that the “evidence in support of certification for the case at bar is, because of the work done in the United States, far more detailed and specific” than required to meet the class certification standard.

At applEcon, we take seriously our obligation to the court to render sound expert opinions that are firmly grounded in fact, and to communicate our analyses simply and clearly.  Our record of successes in the Microsoft antitrust suits shows that our way of working benefits consumers and our clients.

For further information on the California case, see:
"Judge OKs $1.1 billion Microsoft deal", CNET News.com; 21 July 2003
"Proposed Microsoft settlement receives early approval", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 18 July 2003
"Settlement OK'd in Microsoft class action case in California", Computerworld, 21 July 2003
British Columbia Supreme Court’s Reasons for Judgment, 5 March 2010