Apple yesterday condemned Microsoft's offer to pay $1.1bn to end its antitrust suit, insisting that the proposed settlement does not go far enough.
Microsoft has offered to pay vouchers, ranging in value from $4 to $29, to Californian customers of its software.
But Apple particularly objects to the clause in the deal which will give only two-thirds of any unclaimed vouchers to 4,700 of the state's most deprived schools. The remaining unclaimed third reverts to Redmond.
Apple explained in a statement that it is necessary to focus on the fate of the unclaimed voucher funds in order accurately to evaluate Microsoft's offer.
"Apple strongly believes that Microsoft should make the entire pool of unclaimed voucher funds available to our schools to purchase any technology products that best meet their needs," it said.
"Microsoft should not be allowed to recoup one-third of the unclaimed voucher funds, and should not be allowed to dictate which technology our schools choose to buy with these funds.
"Remember: this is a settlement imposed against Microsoft for breaking the law. It should not allow Microsoft to unfairly compete in education, one of the few remaining markets where it doesn't have monopoly power."
Apple's move indicates that the California legal battle is far from over. The settlement must still be presented to the judge, and individual members of the class action suit retain the right to appeal.
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