Microsoft and the State of Iowa just settled their long-running legal battle. I hope Iowans weren’t planning their retirements around it:
Microsoft disclosed Wednesday that it has agreed to a preliminary settlement under which it will pay consumers in Iowa $179.9 million to settle a class action suit that charged the software maker with monopolistic pricing practices.
Under the terms of the agreement, consumers and businesses that purchased Microsoft operating systems or applications between May 18, 1994 and June 30, 2006 can file claims against Microsoft. Government entities that bought Microsoft products from June 2002 through June 2006 can also file a claim.
Operating systems covered by the settlement include MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT Workstation, and Windows 2000 Professional. The applications include Microsoft Word, Excel and Office.
Iowans who purchased an operating system will be reimbursed $16 while application buyers will receive up to $29 for each product purchased. Individuals will receive cash while volume purchasers will receive vouchers that can be used to buy products from Microsoft or its competitors.
Canada Gets a Grip — rejecting the globaloney of Kyoto.
Bring back Jeb already? There’s a looming disaster in Florida, and it’s not a storm (WSJ link requires subscription):
It isn’t easy to put one of the more well governed states on the path to fiscal ruin in a mere three months, but it seems Florida Governor Charlie Crist is exceptional. His campaign to socialize Florida’s insurance market has placed the Sunshine State one big hurricane away from financial disaster.
….. Mr. Crist is a man on a poll-driven mission and his line has been that greedy insurers are ripping off his constituents. In January he convinced the Republican legislature to pass a “reform” designed to lower the price of insurance by making the state a larger player in the market and undercutting private insurers. The new law allows state-run Citizen’s Property Insurance — intended to be an insurer of last resort — to compete directly with private companies.
This exercise in Cuban economics is already gutting Florida’s once-competitive insurance market. Private insurers know the law will artificially depress rates, forcing some to operate at a loss. Many have responded by cancelling policies, prompting Governor Crist to issue an “emergency” order freezing premiums and barring cancellations. Yet even this hasn’t stopped the bleeding.
….. Large numbers of homeowners are now turning to Citizen’s, which itself is only able to offer lower premiums because of its implicit taxpayer guarantee, and because its actuarial assumptions reside in la-la land. Citizen’s likes to say it will have $8 billion with which to pay claims, but it rarely notes that much of this is a line of credit. Between such credit and its bonding authority, what Citizen’s really has is the potential to rack up huge liabilities that will have to be paid by someone when the next storm surge comes ashore.
Most likely, that someone will be all Florida homeowners, who, in the event of a Citizen’s collapse, will be on the hook for large assessments.
Just what Floridians need — a homegrown equivalent to the S&L crisis of the early 1990s.
There is bad news: There are legitimate-appearing allegations that she was mistreated while in state custody.
There is other potential bad news: Melissa has lots of siblings — all younger.