Bloomberg reports that Microsoft, which agreed to pay US$1.1 billion in a California antitrust settlement, has dropped a provision in the agreement that would give its software free to schools after Apple criticized the plan. “Schools that are awarded vouchers under the settlement can now receive any manufacturers’ technology product, according to court documents filed in San Francisco. Previously, Microsoft planned to give schools either free Microsoft software or cash to buy any computer products. The change could avert a challenge to the settlement by Apple… The initial agreement, seen as a bellwether for possible settlements of similar consumer suits pending in several other states, was criticized by Apple, whose U.S. school sales have declined. The maker of iMac computers said the settlement amounted to unfair competition and said schools should get cash only to buy any technology products they want.”