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Microsoft Dodges Class Action In WGA Lawsuit 256

Posted by kdawson
from the hire-your-own-lawyer dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A lawsuit that accused Microsoft of misleading consumers to download and install an update for Windows Genuine Advantage under the guise that it was critical security update will go forward, but not as a class action. A federal judge has refused to certify the lawsuit as a class action, which would have meant that anyone who owned a Windows XP PC in mid-2006 could join the case without having to hire an attorney. As Windows XP was easily the most popular operating system at the time, the ruling means Redmond has managed to avoid hundreds of millions in potential damages."
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Microsoft Dodges Class Action In WGA Lawsuit

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  • Frivolous lawsuit (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:06AM (#30859514)

    Managed to "dodge"? This is the classic definition of a frivolous lawsuit. this is not a compliance lawsuit. There is no injuctive relief. This is a perceived slight by litigous individuals. Why didn't the entire case get thrown out altogether?

  • by dnoyeb (547705) on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:09AM (#30859558) Homepage Journal

    The plaintiffs will probably get a LOT more payout since its not class action.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:10AM (#30859572)
    What upsets me the most is that if I legally purchase windows for my computer I am limited on how much I can upgrade, but if I illegally pirate it I can actually treat it like I own a copy of the OS. The same is true with the excessive DRM on DVDs and Blu-ray. It doesn't stop people from pirating, it just punishes those of us who own legal copies.
  • Re:good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:16AM (#30859644)

    If Microsoft wants to claim and enforce a draconian EULA, they're effectively saying that by buying their software there's a contract between you and them, and as part of that contract they agree to provide any updates through the supported life of that product. In most businesses, the contracts are much more explicit.

    By making a change like this which requires action on your part to continue receiving updates, they've made a substantial change to the contract, without renegotiating. Such unilateral changes to contracts are normally frowned upon by the courts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:32AM (#30859824)

    Does it though?
    Even if a company gets fined 5 or 10 times what they made doing the bad deed will that really change anything?
    Thats only if there is enough evidence, only if the judge has a clue and only if the company cant bury it with
    all the usual tactics at the disposal of a company with hundreds of millions to spend on lawyers. Even if they
    lose they appeal for years, ask the government to help protect their industry/monopoly or they'll have to fire
    thousands of poor innocent employees.

    Compare that to the recent copyright infringement cases where amounts are 10,000 times the value lost
    against people who usually cant afford to mount a proper defence.

    I dont see a class action lawsuit as any real kind of threat to a huge company.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:42AM (#30859956)

    Do you sue for the purpose of getting rich

    Seems like that happens a lot in America. Seriously, what's wrong with you people? Why do you have to sue so much?

  • Re:good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Karellen (104380) on Friday January 22, 2010 @11:46AM (#30860000) Homepage

    Why would pirates have free access to updates too?

    Because a insecure, compromised OS affects more people than just the owneruser of that OS. Unpatched pirated copies of Windows can be pwned and exploited to send spam, perform DDOS attacks, do distributed cracking of encryption keys, or whatever else the operator of a botnet chooses to do with it; actions that hurt all the users of the internet, including all the legitimate ones.

    Patching pirated copies of Windows is in the public interest [networkworld.com]

  • by blankoboy (719577) on Friday January 22, 2010 @12:09PM (#30860300)
    I have to say that WGA was really the final straw for me with Microsoft. I, being a paying customer, felt from day 1 of WGA that it was an absolute kick in the teeth from Microsoft. It is what turned me from a Microsoft fan over to using my Mac Mini. It was a sad thing for me but I'm much happier now and will never come back. Thanks for turning me away Microsoft!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @12:45PM (#30860730)

    Why should she/he be honest about it?
    Microsoft has a history of screwing their customers but you dont see Steve Balmer shouting "We abuse our monopoly position, vast resources and wealth to spread FUD and to lock-in and screw our customers".

    I'm not saying it isn't theft but if a multi-billion dollar monopolist can lie about it, why cant everyone else?

    You might like to feel superior because you're not pirating any software but I dont care and I also feel superior for not buying into
    the copyright/IP bullshit.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 22, 2010 @12:53PM (#30860834) Homepage
    All of which would have gone to the lawyers.

    Modded insightful? It's completely and utterly false, though. Ahh, slashdot.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday January 22, 2010 @01:21PM (#30861206)

    As a person who lived through dos and 3.1, it felt like microsoft cared very little about piracy back then.

    However, when I did some googling, it looks like microsoft has put a lot of money and effort into stopping piracy all the way back to at least 1990. Microsoft anti-piracy articles dominate the search results and I wasn't able to easily find any good examples of them tolerating piracy (tho I remember talk of them tolerating it in china and i remember talk of them tolerating it with windows 3.1/3.11).

    Perhaps we were rationalizing, or perhaps microsoft had variable enforcement depending on market penetration.

    While typing this, I realized my piracy toleration attitude came from windows 3.1 so I did some searches on tolerating windows 3.1 piracy and got some hits.

    http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:Cs-TDEi65mkJ:blogs.zdnet.com/Murphy/index.php%3Fp%3D709+microsoft+tolerated+windows+3.1+piracy&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us [74.125.93.132]
    for example.

    "than failing to put anti-copy protection on MS-DOS in 1983 or encouraging easy copying of its "enterprise" virtualization software today. Similarly making it easy for users to "illegally" copy and install Office 4.0 for Windows 3.1X while straight facedly working with both WordPerfect Corporation and Lotus Development to help these companies prevent illegal copying, was a simple tactical extension of a long term strategy based on using piracy as a way of gaining market share. "

    This matches the Microsoft I grew up with and know well. Strongly saying one thing, and selectively doing other things. Saying you had to follow the legitimate API's to be Windows 95 certified, but using backdoor API's for Word95 and then still certifying it. Saying you want a partnership with a smaller company, learning their technology, dropping the patnership, and then bringing out a similar product (and being sued for it and losing a few times).

    I'm sure that Microsoft is strongly against piracy wherever it has high market penetration. I'm sure it says that it is strongly against piracy everywhere but some areas are very low on the enforcement list.

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Friday January 22, 2010 @01:32PM (#30861332) Journal

    WGA was the beginning of the end with my relationship with Microsoft, and I've been using it pretty much exclusively since DOS 3.0.

    After the dust settled, I started looking into cross platform software that could do what I wanted to in Windows, with a goal of eventually replacing everything with an open source alternative. It really opened my eyes about open source software and what it can (and cannot) do.

    I can now say that, as of two weeks ago, my household became Redmond-free. All three computers in the household are now running Linux Mint, and loving it.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 22, 2010 @02:47PM (#30862040) Homepage
    Believe it or not, I work in a plaintiff class action firm. How shady/obnoxious/arrogant a lawyer can be based on specialty (litigators are probably in general the worst), but a lot of it is also based on law firm culture, which is self-perpetuating to a degree. And obviously, law school itself tends to attract a lot of obnoxious type-A personalities with massive senses of entitlement (though fortunately a lot of that gets knocked out of them when they graduate and find out that a law degree is, in terms of job security, one of the worst advanced degrees you can get).

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