The latest in a flurry of lawsuits was filed against Microsoft on Wednesday, alleging that the software giant had overcharged its customers.
The move follows Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling earlier this month that the software giant had abused its monopoly of the desktop operating system (OS) market, and so had allegedly kept prices artificially high. Industry watchers at the time predicted a barrage of litigation as a result.
Stanley Chesley, an attorney in Ohio, filed a pair of class action suits in both the district and state courts on Wednesday, after estimating that Microsoft had collectively overcharged consumers by up to $10 billion.
But he said that if the plaintiffs won in the Ohio federal court suit, they could be awarded three times that figure.
Chesley, who has previously led legal battles against cigarette makers and other large industries, added that the lawsuits may include additional defendants such as computer manufacturers because their licensing deals with Microsoft could have led to customers being overcharged or could have forced them to use Microsoft's Internet browser.
A Microsoft spokesman said: "We think it's very unfortunate for consumers and the economy that these kinds of groundless lawsuits are being threatened against a company that has driven prices down and given great value and innovation to consumers."
Other private lawsuits filed against the software giant, however, include ones filed in Alabama, Florida, New York, Louisiana and California. These claim that the plaintiffs paid too much for Windows 95 and Windows 98.
But a suit filed by Joseph R Saveri of the law firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, also alleged that Microsoft intentionally engaged in predatory and anti competitive conduct to maintain a monopoly over licensing its OS for use in Intel compatible PCs. The complaint seeks threefold, compensatory and punitive damages for each plaintiff and class.
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