Microsoft may have lost the initial round in its federal
antitrust case, but the software giant today scored two more
victories in private lawsuits. The count is now 7-0 in favor of
Microsoft. Rhode Island and Texas threw out cases alleging that
Microsoft overcharged consumers for copies of Windows 95 and 98.
Courts in Hawaii, Iowa and Kentucky threw out cases last month,
following Microsoft victories in Oregon and Nevada."
"Microsoft's exposure in the approximately 130 remaining
antitrust suits is potentially more than $7 billion, according to a
formula developed by Robert Hall, an economist with the Hoover
Institute at Stanford University. But Microsoft's liability could
be more than three times that when accounting for the breadth of
the violations. That sum could grow if more companies that bought
Windows 95 or 98 directly or that Jackson found to have been
wronged by Microsoft sue the software maker, said Bill Kovacic, a
professor at the George Washington University School of Law."
"Microsoft's success has been in getting judges to dismiss
the cases not on their merits, but on a technicality: a 1977
U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Illinois Brick. Based on the
precedent, which protects antitrust violators from being sued by
multiple parties for a single wrongdoing, only parties who
directly bought a product can file lawsuits in federal and most
state courts. Because Microsoft sold the bulk of Windows
95 and 98 copies to PC makers and retailers and not consumers,
most people cannot sue Microsoft directly."
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