After being reported by Opera Software to the European Commission for providing Internet Explorer web browser pre-installed in its Windows OS, Microsoft has now been threatened with a class-action lawsuit by an Italian consumer group for "forcing" consumers to buy Windows pre-installed on new computers.
The ADUC, Association for the Rights of Users and Consumers, is an Italian consumer rights group that specialises in protecting consumers' interest related to TV, telephone and internet. The association is seeking compensation on behalf of the people who were forced to buy the Microsoft operating systems.
The case, which will be filed in a Florence court, is based on a new law that came in effect on 1st Jan 2010 which allows consumer groups to file class action lawsuits on behalf of people they represent.
ADUC president Vincenzo Donvito, talking to Reuters, said that "As there is a large number of users involved, and with the importance of the free market issue, we have decided to take a collective legal action against Microsoft."
However, the Italian law doesn’t allow the group to seek punitive damages; therefore, ADUC will only seek compensation for cost of Windows OS for the participants of the lawsuit.
Interestingly, the participation in the lawsuit is free but people are welcome to a make a voluntary contribution to the legal proceedings.
Whether this will snowball across Europe, it remains to be seen. Equally interesting is the fact that we will know how much Italians (and by extensions most Europeans) pay for the Windows OS bundled with their computers.
(My Smartr End)