A judge has given preliminary approval to an agreement that would settle a class action lawsuit against Microsoft, and it means Iowa consumers who bought Microsoft products may get some cash. The lawsuit charged the software-maker with antitrust violations, saying its practices forced thousands of Iowans to pay higher prices for its products.

Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Conlin says Iowa businesses and consumers who bought Microsoft products between May of 1994 and June of 2006 will get nearly 180-million dollars in refunds under terms of the agreement.

"We’ll get what we really wanted…which was to make sure that that people who spent their money on these products will be able to get a refund." Businesses will be given vouchers and consumers will get cash. Microsoft agreed to pick up the cost of legal fees in the case, though Rich Wallis, one of Microsoft’s attorneys, says there’s an aspect of the deal he will challenge.

"Microsoft has agreed to pay reasonable attorney’s fees up to a particular amount…The plaintiffs have asked for more than what we had agreed and we will be objecting to that," Wallis says. Half of any money from the refund that isn’t claimed will go to rural and underprivileged schools in Iowa for the purchase of computer equipment.  

Information on filing a claim for Microsoft refund.