Ragnar Danneskjold Project?

 Posted by on 27 March 2006 at 7:33 am  Uncategorized
Mar 272006

I recently received this interesting announcement from Objectivist Ed Thompson:

This is to report yet another outrage perpetrated against Microsoft.

As an investor, I regularly receive complex legal notices petitioning me to join a class action lawsuit against some company. I trash them. Shorn of the typical incomprehensible legalese, this is the first notice I’ve ever seen that I can comprehend. It’s in English. And all I have to do is collect my loot.

The heading reads, “Consumers and Businessmen May Claim Microsoft Settlement Benefits.”

The proposed settlement arises from allegations that Microsoft violated New York antitrust and unfair competition laws. Consumers who acquired certain Microsoft products for use in New York over the past TWELVE years are eligible to collect an estimated $350 million. No proof of purchase required.


Googling produced a list of seventeen states with like settlements:


Legal History:


We can fight this. Class Members can write to the court if they do not like the settlement. Of course, the court anticipates exactly the opposite of what we will write, as to what is fair.

One can also ask the Court for permission to speak at a “Fairness Hearing.” I intend to ask.

This is an opportunity for Objectivists to affect favorably an outcome of the continued unjust persecution of Microsoft. Since there are seventeen states involved, there are many venues for us to participate. Even those living elsewhere might participate through a proxy, if you have a willing friend or relative who qualifies for an award.

Note: vouchers may be donated to a charity. If enough of us put in claims worth up to $60 and donate our vouchers to ARI, then ARI can take the accumulated vouchers–blood money, actually–up to a total of $10,000, and donate them to Microsoft–publicly. Call it the Ragnar Danneskjold project. It may make for a good public relations campaign, similar to BB&T’s principled stand regarding eminent domain. (I presume that’s $10,000 per state, which could yield up to a total of $170,000.)

Feel free to contact me off-line, if you intend to participate.

I have no idea whether ARI is interested in any such “Ragnar Danneskjold Project,” but an individual certainly could claim his voucher, then donate it to Microsoft. And people can request to speak out in whatever way permitted by the court settlement. (I can’t do anything, at least not yet, since Colorado isn’t one of the states involved in the settlement.)

A final thought: In the time since Microsoft lost its antitrust case, the company has seemed stopped in its tracks, stagnating rather than innovating. Maybe that’s just a fluke, or maybe I haven’t paid adequate attention to the news. However, I’ve heard that IBM suffered exactly that effect as a result of its major antitrust woes of the 1980s. And stagnation would seem to be the natural result of the government breathing down your neck to ensure that your great creativity is not harming your weaker, slower competitors.

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