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Californians get more time on Microsoft claims

The software giant is doling out vouchers to people who bought Windows, Excel or Word between 1995 and 2001.

Californians have a little longer to try to get some money out of Microsoft.

Residents of the Golden State received an extension on filing claim forms for their piece of the $1.1 billion settlement the state won in a 2003 class-action suit against Microsoft. Claimants now have until Jan. 22 to submit their paperwork.

The previous Jan. 8 deadline was extended because some people encountered problems downloading the claim form, according to the Microsoft site where the forms are available.

But those parties will now be able to have the claim form e-mailed, faxed or mailed to them by clicking on links on the Microsoft site.

The settlement, which stems from a lawsuit settled in 2003 that had alleged Microsoft overcharged for its products, applies to individuals and businesses that purchased Microsoft Windows, Excel or Word between Feb. 18, 1995, and Dec. 15, 2001, for use in California.

As part of the settlement, consumers and businesses can receive vouchers ranging from $5 to $29 per copy of Microsoft software, depending on the product they purchased. The vouchers can be applied toward the purchase of any Microsoft products, whether sold through another vendor or Microsoft.

The claims site is operated by a third-party administrator, said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake.

Approximately 650,000 claims have been filed for the settlement, out of a claims pool of roughly 14 million, Drake said.

"We feel the claims rate is consistent with class-action settlements," Drake said.