What should Jeff do with his MS Anti-Trust Settlement?

A zany geek soap opera full of bizarre characters, a sentient slime mold or two, and more jokes than you can shake a 10Base-T networking card at.

Moderators: stjen, Lady_Phoenix, jtdarlington, MaxJenius, kmd

How should Jeff use his settlement vouchers?

Trade them in for a decent game for myself
7
20%
Take revenge by using them to buy open source software
16
46%
Trade them in for cold, hard cash
6
17%
Think of the children, man... give them to the schools
3
9%
Opt out so he can sue the pants of MS later (if needed)
3
9%
 
Total votes : 35

What should Jeff do with his MS Anti-Trust Settlement?

Postby jtdarlington on Sat Mar 06, 2004 6:06 pm

As mentioned in the 3/8/2004 news update, I got a very interesting letter in the mailbox when I came back from UberCon. To my surprise, it was a notification that I was eligible to receive part of the settlement between North Carolina and Microsoft in the landmark Microsoft anti-trust class action lawsuit. As most of you already know, several states took Microsoft to court, claiming (rightly) that the company engaged in anti-competative monopolistic tactics and over charged consumers for their overpriced software. While I would have prefered to see the lawsuit actually reach a verdict, most states eventually decided to settle out of court, including North Carolina.

As a result, I am eligible to receive vouchers for Microsoft software products that I bought between December 9, 1995, and December 31, 2002. This includes most MS operating systems as well as copies of Office and its various components. Seeing that we purchased three computers during that time, we have four eligible products: two copies of Windows 98, one copy of Windows 2000 Professional, and one copy of Office 2000 Small Business. That only equates to around $30 of vouchers, but hey, that's better than nothing.

So now I need to decide what to do with them, and I thought I'd throw the question out here, for everyone's amusement. I can redeem the vouchers for "qualifying hardware and software," which includes just about anything but PDAs, server hardware or software, and "custom" software (which I assume means anything not off-the-shelf). This hardware and software does not necessarily have to come from Microsoft. (Ergo, I take take small revenge by buying a copy of something open source, like a Linux distro.) I believe I can also turn these vouchers in for cash if I also turn in the certificates of authenticity for each product.

However, if I don't claim part of the settlement, 50% of my share (roughly $15) gets donated to North Carolina schools in low-income areas. (Actually, it's 50% of all unclaimed vouchers out of the roughly $89 million in the North Carolina settlement. I have no idea why it's 50% and not 100%, which I think would be more appropriate.) The school vouchers will go to the purchase of hardware and software for the schools, and again do not necessarily have to be Microsoft products. So I could probably buy a school a cheap mouse, or some software from the bargain bin.

Of course, by accepting the vouchers (or not and letting the schools get 50% of them), I waive any right to one day down the road sue Microsoft for its anti-trust violations in the future. (I could sue them for other reasons, but not for the grounds covered by the lawsuit.) At this time, I have no plans of suing Microsoft, but maybe that's something I ought to keep in my back pocket and save for later. ;)

So what do you think, gang? What's the best way for me to put Microsoft's misfortunes to my advantage? :D
Last edited by jtdarlington on Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jeff Darlington
General Protection Fault
http://www.gpf-comics.com/
User avatar
jtdarlington
Extra-Dimensional Entity
 
Posts: 3995
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2000 12:00 am
Location: The Thirteenth Dimension of the Infinite Rotunda of Eternity

Postby showler on Sat Mar 06, 2004 8:03 pm

$89 million is just enough to counter MS's sponsorship of SCO and their lawsuit driven business plan, but I don't know how you would use it.

I hear those Fred dolls are nice. Have you bought one yet?
No trees were killed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were terribly inconvenienced." - anonymous

"Please. I have had too much of the stupid today. Please wait until tomorrow to say these things so my tolerance has refreshed." - Umya New Gold Dreams
User avatar
showler
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 4134
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2000 12:00 am
Location: NS, Canada

Postby Doctor Emmit Brown on Sat Mar 06, 2004 8:46 pm

Shouldn't the last 2 options be combined since if you opt out the schools get the cash, and you can still SUE 'EM ( :P )?

Anyway, I voted for the last one. I don't know what I would have done if my high school didn't have good computers when I went there.
Image
User avatar
Doctor Emmit Brown
Keenspot Despot
 
Posts: 2164
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:33 pm
Location: In Cyberspace hacking you. Not your computer, YOU

Postby Mutttley on Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:01 pm

A modest word-of-mouth campaign could probably garner enough philanthropic like-minded microShafted folk to contribute 50% of their payback into a more meaningful project, for a specific school. On the back of it you could collectively offer to contribute a term (sorry, semester in the US? ) or so of work to making the teaching programs more relevant to the real skills needed by almost everyone in the next generation: for instance typing skills, use of search engines, web authoring and website design, graphic design and art... If American schools are anything like those in the UK, there is a dearth of real-world experience being fed back into the next generation, who will be crippled without it.

Well, on the face of it, the 50% penalty for allowing your refund to be commuted to a charity donation is too provocative to ignore. If they had instead promised to double the payback for vouchers donated to schools, I would be more inclined to make the donation (if I were eligible). It might just make up for the bureaucratic overhead inevitable in any public service administration.
User avatar
Mutttley
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed May 16, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Kent, UK

Postby showler on Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:28 pm

Doctor Emmit Brown wrote:Shouldn't the last 2 options be combined since if you opt out the schools get the cash, and you can still SUE 'EM ( :P )?


According to his post, opting out means out completely. Nobody gets any money. He can decline and give the money to the school, but doing so means he still gives up the right to sue.

Anybody find it odd that failure to respond at all is seen as agreement to give up the right to sue?
No trees were killed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were terribly inconvenienced." - anonymous

"Please. I have had too much of the stupid today. Please wait until tomorrow to say these things so my tolerance has refreshed." - Umya New Gold Dreams
User avatar
showler
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 4134
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2000 12:00 am
Location: NS, Canada

Postby mouse on Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:39 pm

they can be turned in for _cash_? i think that's the same letter i got, but i thought the only option was for software - and since the last two software purchases i made are still sitting around in their boxes waiting for me to load them......(and those are the first purchases i've made in like 2 years)
User avatar
mouse
Keenspot Deity
 
Posts: 10449
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: under the bed

Postby jtdarlington on Sat Mar 06, 2004 11:00 pm

showler wrote:According to his post, opting out means out completely. Nobody gets any money. He can decline and give the money to the school, but doing so means he still gives up the right to sue.


Correct.

showler wrote:Anybody find it odd that failure to respond at all is seen as agreement to give up the right to sue?


I do, but considering opt-out is the darling of spammers, and some people would say lawyers are almost as scummy.... :D

mouse wrote:they can be turned in for _cash_? i think that's the same letter i got, but i thought the only option was for software


Hmm... after re-reading it, I can't find where I read that. It might be that you can redeem the vouchers for cash if you purchased hardware and software after September 13, 2003. So if we still had the receipt, we could get cash for, say, the copy of Shadows of Undrentide I got for Christmas. But that's my guess.
Jeff Darlington
General Protection Fault
http://www.gpf-comics.com/
User avatar
jtdarlington
Extra-Dimensional Entity
 
Posts: 3995
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2000 12:00 am
Location: The Thirteenth Dimension of the Infinite Rotunda of Eternity

Postby Rombobj on Sat Mar 06, 2004 11:12 pm

The optimal solution seems to be to buy some free program and donate it to a school. M$ has to pay 100%, the money goes to the free software community, the school can install the program on any number of computers, and you make sure that the school doesn't buy from M$. :D

Even better would be if all of those who want to donate to the schools could cooperate. They could take their 100% in cash (if possible), pool the money and make a big, coordinated purchase after consulting the schools.
User avatar
Rombobj
Keenspot Despot
 
Posts: 1129
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:30 am
Location: Lagom country

Postby bbwolf on Sat Mar 06, 2004 11:45 pm

AaaaaaaarrrrgghHHH!!!! That was MY point. *groan* :D I decided to register finally just for that, got told the nick was allready taken and wastet another fifteen minutes to find out that it was taken by me, but I forgot about it. Shame on me, a-he.

But yass, Rombobj
User avatar
bbwolf
Junior Keenspotter
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2002 2:19 am
Location: Suthern Germany

Postby sfwarlock on Mon Mar 08, 2004 9:28 am

bbwolf wrote:I decided to register finally just for that, got told the nick was allready taken


And I notice this is your first post over here in the GPF section, so if you'll just hold still for a second.

(thiswonthurtabit)

*POKE*! Welcome!
[i]there's a rising tide on the rivers of blood
but if the answer isn't violence, neither is your silence
if they come to 'ethnically cleanse' me
will you speak out? will you defend me?
freedom of expression doesn't make it alright
trampled underfoot by the rise of the right

ich bin ein a
User avatar
sfwarlock
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2001 12:00 am
Location: near San Francisco, CA

Postby jabberwocky on Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:33 am

I agree Rombobjoern's solution seems to be optimal.

I think the apparently most valuable solution is actually the opt-out, but I also think that there are likely to be more important things to sue Microsoft for down the track.

Organise for free software to be bought for schools. Maybe even Linux if you're feeling particularly anti-trusting -- encourage system programming to creep into the high school syllabus. That would be cool.
User avatar
jabberwocky
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:39 am
Location: Australia

Postby Liam_Slider on Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:26 pm

Open Source all the way! Heck, that way you can buy the software (such as a Linux distro), keep a copy for yourself, and give it to the schools.

1) Burns MS.

2) Benefits you personally.

3) Benefits the schools.

It's a win, win, win situation here. :)
"One day I woke up, and I realized I was never going to be normal...I said so be it." --Hard Harry, Pump Up the Volume
User avatar
Liam_Slider
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 595
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 7:46 pm
Location: Earth, Sol Star System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy

Postby Catgrin on Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:07 am

Open source is seriously your best bet!

Support the people you want developing for those starving highschoolers, and you'll do more to $%#? with M$ than any other option.

If you're worried for the children, and think that's not enough, see if this is an option -

Use the vouchers to make a M$ purchase.
Return the item.
Give 100% to your local school.

Either way, take it while it's there to be had. A nibble here, a nibble there - sooner or later the ship sinks.
I'm the descendent of doctors and vaudevilleans. Somehow, that explains everything.

Go fig'.
Catgrin
Junior Keenspotter
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:47 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Postby Limax on Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:26 pm

Catgrin wrote:Open source is seriously your best bet!


I guess it should be pointed out that Jeff has at least two Linux machines. I haven't posted because I have no opinion. I have faith that Jeff will make a decision that best suits his needs.
.__ ___ __ _... ._ _

A salted slug gathers no moss.

This post is brought to you by the number 6.
User avatar
Limax
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 5031
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Livermore, CA, USA

Postby Shadowydreamer on Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:54 pm

I think Jeff should buy lots and lots of cookies. ^_^

-Shady.
(I jest, of course.)
The adventures of an evil rabbit and his penguin companion.
http://www.tuxandbunny.com
User avatar
Shadowydreamer
Keenspot Despot
 
Posts: 1273
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Vancouver'ish, Canada

Postby Limax on Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:59 pm

Shadowydreamer wrote:I think Jeff should buy lots and lots of cookies. ^_^


Better watch it... the Girl Scouts may come out in force and descend on Jeff's house!
.__ ___ __ _... ._ _

A salted slug gathers no moss.

This post is brought to you by the number 6.
User avatar
Limax
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 5031
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Livermore, CA, USA

Postby Catgrin on Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:40 am

I have faith that Jeff will make a decision that best suits his needs.

Jeff's a smarty, I know he'll pick a good 'un. He asked or I woulda kept my trap shut, too. Also, he may have two machines, but $30 may help to keep 'em running.
I'm the descendent of doctors and vaudevilleans. Somehow, that explains everything.

Go fig'.
Catgrin
Junior Keenspotter
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:47 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Postby bezahlt on Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:14 pm

Here's how I see it.

1. The 50% that might go to schools will be whittled down so much through red tape that the kids will end up with about 1 cent on the dollar. It's just like all of the state lottery scams..."profits will go to schools". If that were the case there shouldn't be a school system in a state with a lottery that's lacking funds.

2. As far as revenge: Forgive your enemies, it messes with their head. That cover two options: buying a Linux distro or reserving the right to sue.

3. So, buy a game man! Have a little fun a Microsoft's expense!
User avatar
bezahlt
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:05 pm
Location: 4 hops from the router

eBay

Postby greylion on Fri Mar 26, 2004 2:11 am

Ebay them, and give the money to the EFF.
greylion
Junior Keenspotter
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 2:03 am
Location: Denmark

 

Return to General Protection Fault

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron