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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Window on Microsoft's legal fees

If you’ve ever wondered why a new copy of Microsoft’s Vista operating systems costs $300, a clue might lie in the size of the war chest the software giant must maintain for its legal fees.

A Wisconsin judge ruled this week that Minneapolis attorneys with national law firm Zelle, Hoffman, Voelbel, Mason & Gette were entitled to $4.2 million in legal fees and expenses stemming from its work in an antitrust suit against Microsoft that was settled in 2006. Microsoft challenged the fees, saying the Zelle firm had misrepresented the hours they spent working on the case.

The Wisconsin class action suit was settled for $223.8 million. A similar suit based in Minnesota was settled for $174.5 million.

Earlier this year, the Software Freedom Law Center did a projection of how much Microsoft users are being asked to share in the company’s legal costs. The group took the total of $4.3 billion dollars in legal costs incurred by Microsoft from 2001 to 2004 and divided it by estimated sales of the Windows XP operating system over the same period — about 200 million copies — to come up with a figure of $21.50 per user that goes toward Microsoft’s defense of patent suits and other legal costs.

1 comment:

CaS said...

Not to be picky, but the judge didn't award the Zelle firm the $22 million it sought. He only awarded about $4 million, somewhat less than was awarded to the other firms involved in the Wisconsin action.