Apple Computer issued a statement this week criticizing Microsoft's proposed settlement with the state of California. The class-action lawsuit accused Microsoft of overcharging California consumers, schools, and businesses for Windows and other products.

In its statement, Apple said that the settlement, valued at $1.1 billion, would give Microsoft an unfair advantage over competition in the state, especially in the education market. "\[The settlement\] should not allow \[Microsoft\] to unfairly compete in education, one of the few remaining markets where \[Microsoft doesn't\] have monopoly power," Apple wrote, arguing that a clause in the settlement requires California schools to use part of the settlement funds to purchase Microsoft products.

Under terms of the settlement, plaintiffs in the California case will receive $5 to $29 (depending on how much Microsoft software they purchased), which they can use to purchase computer hardware or software from any company. If the plaintiffs don't redeem all the $1.1 billion in vouchers, Microsoft has pledged to donate two-thirds of the difference to low-income schools in California. The schools must use half of that money to purchase Microsoft software, however.