Eager to settle the private antitrust lawsuit, Microsoft offered additional concessions to sway the opposition to support the proposal for $ 1 billion in software, hardware and training donations to 16,000 of America's poorest schools. Microsoft said it would let a newly formed foundation, rather than Microsoft, oversee how $ 90 million in teacher training funds will be distributed. In addition, the foundation will pick its board members and two software makers to join the foundation:
Connectix, which makes a program that lets Windows work on rival Apple computers, and education software company Key Curriculum Press. Microsoft lawyer Tom Burt urged US District Judge Frederick Motz to accept the updated settlement, saying schools, not the software giants, would benefit from the settlement plan. He said schools would be able to make their own technology choices. "This is going to be a platform-neutral settlement that is not going to be influenced by Microsoft," Burt argued.
Opposition to the settlement has centered on the fear that Microsoft would be able to use the settlement to push Microsoft products into the education market in a way that would have violated antitrust laws if it were not court approved. Apple Computer officials have told Motz the original settlement amounted to a massive subsidy for the adoption of Microsoft products in schools. Apple wants Microsoft to distribute $ 1 billion in cash to the schools (about $ 60,000 per school) and let them decide how they want to use the money.
More than 200 educators, parents, technology experts and private citizens have written Judge Motz. The vast majority opposed the settlement's terms. Motz has also expressed concerns about the structure of the settlement. But Burt called that concern 'at most insignificant' and claimed that schools would be shortchanged if Microsoft simply paid a lump sum to the foundation. "The value of the software to the students is much greater than the cost the Microsoft," Burt said. "This is not a settlement that imposes any solutions on local schools." Burt added. "The eligible schools are enabled to implement local technology plans."
Educators and minority-rights groups also have taken issue with Microsoft's plan to provide schools with refurbished, used computers. Microsoft says providing less-expensive computers enables the company to give schools more computers. But school administrators say refurbished computers are much costlier to maintain.