Some Microsoft consumer suits quashed

A federal judge on Monday granted a motion by Microsoft Corp. to throw out five of the consumer antitrust lawsuits filed against the company in four states.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz struck down lawsuits filed in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland and Oklahoma, saying laws in those states do not allow consumers to collect damages from Microsoft unless they purchased software directly from the company. In each of the cases dismissed on Monday, Motz said, state courts have ruled that so-called indirect purchasers cannot collect damages.

The cases are part of a slew of class-action lawsuits filed against Microsoft on behalf of consumers in the wake of the government's landmark antitrust case against the company.

In the class-action cases before Motz, the plaintiffs allege Microsoft abused its monopoly power to prevent competition in the market for personal computer operating systems, leveraged its Windows monopoly to obtain monopolies in the markets for word processing and spreadsheet software and used its monopoly positions in these markets to overcharge purchasers of Windows, Word, Excel and Office software. (Ed: In essence... "same old, same old".)

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