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3/21/2004

Neb. revives Microsoft suit

The Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court revived a lawsuit Friday that alleges Microsoft Corp. violated state consumer-protection laws by engaging in monopolistic behavior.
Two residents sued the software giant in 2001 on behalf of individual and corporate Windows users, who the lawsuit says number at least 4,000 in the state. The lawsuit is one of scores nationwide stemming from the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust action against Microsoft, which the company has settled.
The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft used its monopoly in computer operating systems to overcharge people for its widely used Windows 98 software.
A Dodge County judge threw out the lawsuit, citing a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said only consumers who bought directly from price-fixing manufacturers can sue for antitrust damages. Windows 98 typically is pre-loaded on computers from various sellers.
The 4-3 opinion Friday said Nebraska’s consumer protection law, passed after the 1977 decision, allows claims whether a good or service was sold directly or indirectly.