Microsoft won a rare legal victory this week when an Oregon state judge threw out one of the 137 consumer lawsuits against the company. The class action lawsuit claimed that Microsoft overcharged consumers for Windows 98 and quoted Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's November findings of fact, which found that Microsoft harmed consumers by fixing the price of Windows. But the Oregon judge ruled that the suit was invalid because most Windows users don't buy the product directly from Microsoft. Instead, it generally comes bundled with a new PC. And according to a Supreme Court ruling, consumers cannot use antitrust laws to sue if they did not purchase a product directly from the company that makes it. Microsoft, of course, was ecstatic about the ruling.
"We are certainly pleased that our motion to dismiss was granted," said Microsoft spokesperson Jim Cullinan. "There's certainly a good precedent for us as we move ahead with several similar motions. These lawsuits are not designed to benefit consumers, but are designed by plaintiffs' attorneys to go after a successful company. Microsoft's actions will be seen for what they are, which is very beneficial to consumers, especially low prices."
Of course, the company still faces another 136 class action lawsuits, which have been filed in 34 states and Washington D.C. Microsoft says, however, that the remaining suits will probably be influenced by the Oregon decision