Microsoft wants Lindows claims rejected called the move an effort to reduce how much money Microsoft must pay

Microsoft Corp. has asked a San Francisco court to instruct the administrator in a $1.1 billion California class-action settlement to reject claims filed through, a site run by Linux vendor Inc.

Claims filed through the MSfreePC Web site don't comply with the settlement or the claims procedures, according to Microsoft. The claims aren't personally signed and transfer the right to be paid to, which the settlement doesn't allow, Microsoft said in its court filing. Instead, anyone who has filed a claim through the service should be sent an official claim form by the claims administrator.

The filing in San Francisco Superior Court last week comes after Microsoft in late September sent a notice demanding it take down the MSfreePC site. The site is still up and running. launched in September as a way for California software buyers to get a piece of the settlement. The site offers Lindows software and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice suite in exchange for a claim and the vouchers certain software buyers are entitled to under the settlement.

Under the settlement agreement, consumers with valid claims can use their proceeds to buy a wide range of hardware or software, including the Lindows operating system, Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said today. "We are concerned, however, that the Lindows Web site misuses the court-approved California settlement as a marketing tool for their products." calls Microsoft's attempt to shutter its site a "transparent attempt" to reduce the amount of money it has to pay out, the company said in a statement today. Two-thirds of any unclaimed settlement vouchers will be donated to the neediest California public schools, and one-third defaults back to Microsoft.

Under the settlement announced in January, those who bought Microsoft's operating system or productivity software for use in California between Feb. 18, 1995, and Dec. 15, 2001, can get vouchers worth between $5 and $29, depending on the product bought.

The class-action lawsuit accused Microsoft of overcharging for its software. The company has settled 10 similar suits for a total of approximately $1.55 billion. Last week Microsoft announced preliminary court approval of a settlement in North Carolina.

The official Web site for the California settlement is at

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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