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By | Kelly Fiveash 19th February 2009 10:33

Judge strips MS 'Vista Capable' lawsuit of class action status

Plaintiffs must sue individually

Microsoft scored a major win in the ongoing “Vista Capable” lawsuit yesterday after a US federal judge ruled that the case no longer warranted class action status.

Judge Marsha Pechman said that each PC buyer who claims to have been hoodwinked by Microsoft’s Vista marketing campaign has to bring their own legal action if they want to seek damages from the software multinational.

"At this juncture, the Court believes the most appropriate remedy for Plaintiffs’ failure to present evidence suggesting class-wide causation is decertification," wrote Pechman in the ruling, which TechFlash has a copy of here. "Absent evidence of class-wide price inflation, Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that common questions predominate over individual considerations"

The judge declined to throw out the lawsuit entirely, but Microsoft still took time out to pat itself on the back.

"We're pleased that the court granted our motion to decertify the class, leaving only the claims of six individuals," MS said in a statement. "We look forward to presenting our case to the jury, should the plaintiffs elect to pursue their individual claims."

Ultimately, Redmond will be breathing a big sigh of relief behind closed doors today because it no longer faces a hefty payout to a mob of unhappy Vista customers who collectively would have claimed substantial damages from the firm.

Plaintiffs brought the case against Microsoft nearly two years ago. They allege that the company artificially inflated demand for Vista in the run-up to Christmas 2006, by falsely advertising that PCs would be capable of running the full version of the firm’s operating system before it had even been launched into the consumer market.

Some customers felt they had been duped by the sticky labels slapped on Windows XP-based PCs that lacked the appropriate hardware to run Vista Premium's memory-chugging media centre, and the clunky Aero interface. ®

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