Microsoft faces class-action lawsuits

Three lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft on behalf of millions of the software vendor's customers in California. The suit is the latest to emerge since a US federal court judge determined earlier this month that Microsoft is a monopoly.

Today's lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in San Francisco, accuses Microsoft of using its monopoly in the desktop PC software market to charge users an unfairly high price for its Windows operating system. The suit was filed on behalf of all users in California who bought a version of Windows 95 or Windows 98.

The lawsuit seeks treble financial damages for the plaintiffs. The suit doesn't put a dollar figure on those damages, but notes that the suit was filed on behalf of "millions of consumers or end users".

After Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his findings of fact in the government's antitrust case against Microsoft earlier this month, some legal experts predicted his ruling that the software maker is a monopoly would lead to a barrage of additional lawsuits.

A Microsoft spokesman today said a class-action lawsuit similar to the California suit was filed last week in Louisiana, although he couldn't provide any specifics about the suit. Other private lawsuits seeking class-action status have already been filed in Orange County, California, New York and Birmingham, Alabama, according to an Associated Press report.

"We think it's very unfortunate for consumers and the economy that these kinds of groundless lawsuits are being threatened against a company that has driven prices down and given great value and innovation to consumers," said Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla.

The lawsuits are "particularly ironic" considering that Windows 95 and Windows 98 cost less than, for example, IBM's OS/2 and Apple Computer's Macintosh operating system, according to Pilla.

Until a verdict is reached in the government's antitrust case against Microsoft, Judge Jackson's findings of fact can't be brought to bear in any of the private antitrust actions, according to Pilla. What's more, Microsoft has indicated that it will appeal any unfavourable ruling in that case, a process that could take years, Pilla noted.

The California suit filed today attaches Jackson's findings of fact as "Exhibit A," and refers to the judge's determination that Microsoft abused its monopoly power to the detriment of consumers.

A rash of private lawsuits would likely increase the incentive for Microsoft to settle its case with the US government, observers noted. The prospect of a settlement increased last week after Jackson appointed a moderator to the case in Washington.

The three lawyers who filed the California lawsuit -- Terry Gross and Francis Acarpulla of San Francisco, and Daniel Mogin of San Diego -- aren't newcomers to high-tech litigation. In 1997 the trio helped force a settlement in a case against Intel that accused the chip maker of spreading misleading data about the performance of its microprocessors, according to information on Gross' Web site.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?