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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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January 4, 2008 3:36 PM

Xbox Live holiday outages prompts class action lawsuit

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft's Xbox Live network suffered some outages over the holidays, and the company yesterday offered subscribers a free arcade download as an apology. But that wasn't enough for three Texans, who this afternoon filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging breach of contract.

The complaint describes the December outages -- chronicled on blogs and elsewhere -- that kept people from "accessing online play for several weeks. ... Xbox Live continues to deny subscribers access and has even issued apologies for their failure to correct server problems."

Interruptions in play kicked "many Plaintiffs offline" and "displayed messages such as 'Server Error.' " Others could not get online or use match making and account recovery features "despite paying for these services in their yearly subscription dues. Many Plaintiffs purchased new subscriptions specifically to play online during the holidays."

The complaint alleges that Microsoft knew increased holiday Xbox sales would lead to a bump in Xbox Live subscriptions and game-play on its servers, but the company "failed to provide adequate access and service to XBOX Live and its subscribers."

The outages in December, the plaintiffs allege, constitute a breach of the Xbox Live subscription contract. Xbox Live users pay $30 to $50 a year for access to the gaming network.

Here's a nine-page PDF of the complaint. I've asked Microsoft to comment.

Update, 5 p.m.: Via email from a Microsoft spokesman: "Microsoft only recently learned of the lawsuit, so we are not in a position to comment at this time."

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