SALES OF low-end PCs that were labeled as 'Vista Capable' but couldn't run the premium editions of Vista earned Microsoft more than $1.5 billion, according to a plaintiffs' witness estimate in the 'Vista Capable' consumer class action lawsuit.
Consumers are suing the Vole because they claim it misled them into buying PCs that were capable of running only the Home Basic version of Windows Vista rather than the more full featured editions that included the eye-candy Aero grapical user interface.
The plaintiffs argue that Microsoft "unjustly enriched" itself by deceptively inflating demand for less powerful PCs, increasing their price. This court filing claims to put a price tag on that.
Expert witness Keith Leffler stated, "I have been asked by Plaintiffs' counsel to estimate the amount of revenue earned by Microsoft from the licensing of Windows XP on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs sold to Plaintiffs."
After reviewing the Vole's [redacted] sales figures on Windows XP licences for PCs labeled as 'Vista Capable' during the period from April 2006 through January 2007, when Windows Vista became generally available, Leffler concluded: "From these figures, I have reached the opinion that Microsoft revenue from the Windows XP licensing on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs sold to Plaintiffs was $1.505 billion."
So that is the base amount at stake in this lawsuit, $1.5 billion. Should the trial jury be persuaded that Microsoft harmed the plaintiffs by its action, it might decide to assess actual damages commensurate to this amount.
Further, if it's convinced that aggravating factors apply, the jury might also impose punitive damages of up to three times the amount of actual damages assessed. Subject to the judge's discretion and appeals, of course. The case continues and will make entertaining watching. µ
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