Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alvarado v Microsoft - Western District Washington

Is a charge to downgrade from Vista to XP the beginnings of a credible Washington State Anti-trust suit?



In her Feb 11, 2009 complaint, Alvarado alleges, among other state violations, a cause of action under the Washington State Unfair Business Practices statute.

Alvarado, a resident of Los Angeles County, California, filed the class action complaint in Washington as a diversity action, with JD/venue proper since Microsoft has its principle state of business in Redmond Washington.

The benefits of filing complaint under Washington state law are unclear. Considering the breadth of consumers "harmed" by Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive behavior, wouldn't it be proper to pursue an interstate system of relief?

Specifically, the complaint alleges in claim 1:
33. Beginning at a time presently unknown to Plaintiff, and continuing through the
present, Defendants entered into and operated a continuing unlawful trust in restraint of trade
and commerce. This trust consisted of a continuing combination, agreement, conspiracy,
and/or understanding between and among Defendants, OEMs, IAPs, and others with respect to
the licensing and sale of the Windows Vista operating system within the State of Washington
and throughout the United States.

The unlawful trust has had the following effects, among others:
a. competition in the sale of Intel-compatible PC operating systems
software has been suppressed, restrained, and/or eliminated;
b. prices of the Windows Vista operating system have been fixed,
maintained and stabilized at supra-competitive levels;
c. prices of the Windows XP operating system have been fixed,
maintained and stabilized at supra-competitive levels and customers have been forced to
purchase the most expensive version of this program in order to “downgrade” from the
Windows Vista operating system; and
d. Microsoft prohibited its OEM's (Dell/HP/Sony, etc.) from selling new
computers with Windows XP operating system pre-installed.

35. The conduct of Defendants as alleged herein constitutes a violation of the
Washington Unfair Business Practices Act.

36. As a direct and proximate result of the anti-competitive practices described
herein, Plaintiff and the members of the Class have been injured in their business or property
within the meaning of Section 19.86.090 of the Washington Unfair Business Practices Act
because they have been forced to purchase Vista rather than alternative operating systems
software and have been required to pay additional amounts of money to “downgrade” to the
Windows XP operating system.

Complaint obtained via Pacer

full text complaint Alvarado v Microsoft Complaint Against Microsoft


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This work by Autman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.