Appeals Court Clears Microsoft in Class Action Lawsuit

A federal appeals court has upheld 2001 and 2004 rulings in which Microsoft was cleared of liability in class action lawsuits related to the software giant's US antitrust case. Plaintiffs in the class action case had argued that Microsoft had overcharged them for Windows and other software and that they were harmed by a lack of competitive technologies because of Microsoft's anticompetitive business practices.

The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Maryland unanimously ruled that Kloth v. Microsoft couldn't continue because the plaintiffs hadn't purchased the offending software directly from Microsoft but had instead acquired it with a new PC purchase from one of Microsoft's hardware partners. The decision upheld two separate rulings earlier issued by US District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz.

Microsoft representatives referred to the decision as a "significant milestone" for the company and the effective ending of the case. Technically, the plaintiffs can still appeal the case to the US Supreme Court, but it's unlikely that the Court would elect to hear the appeal.

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