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Two new lawsuits chase refunds for MS software users

Money back demanded for Windows and Office

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Microsoft's lawsuits are heading for double figures (OK, we lost count) following the filing of two new actions against the company last week. Both suits claim Microsoft overcharges, and seek damages for consumers. One of the suits also names Compaq, Dell and Packard Bell-NEC as co-conspirators. The actions, one filed in California and another in Washington DC by a Texas company, seek class action status -- the claimants wish to act on behalf of the customers they claim have been overcharged by Microsoft, and to obtain damages for them. Microsoft described the actions as "plagiarism", and indeed class action suits in the US tend to have more than an element of fire engine chasing attached to them. The cost of Microsoft software has not, however, been a central plank of the DoJ's case against the company. The US states who united their case with the DoJ's had originally intended to focus on the price of Microsoft Office, but this aspect of the action was dropped before the case went to trial. But earlier this year the Consumer Federation of America issued a report (see Report calls for $10 billion fine) which claimed Microsoft had overcharged to the tune of $10 billion, and called for a fine of this level to be exacted as part of a remedy. If you were to share that out between, say, 100 million consumers it would still come to a fair whack. Still, the CFA's report was later slammed by a pair of economists as "poorly researched" and of highly dubious value (see MS pushes prices down, not up, claims study). That said Register readers, checking back over MS pricing as the economists claimed to have done, showed the duo's findings weren't entirely spot on either, at least on the Mac platform... ® Complete Register trial coverage

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