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March 7, 2008 11:55 AM
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
Microsoft is appealing U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman's Feb. 22 decision to certify a class-action lawsuit challenging Microsoft's "Vista Capable" marketing program as deceptive.
In a motion filed Thursday, Microsoft's attorneys argue that Pechman's ruling raises "important legal questions ... which have significance far beyond this case." Microsoft is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to immediately review the ruling and asking Pechman to delay further proceedings in the Vista Capable suit until it does.
From Microsoft's motion (18-page PDF):
"If the Court of Appeals answers those questions in Microsoft's favor, this case will not proceed as a class action; if the Court of Appeals resolves these questions in plaintiffs favor, it will lay these threshold legal questions to rest. Either result will allow the parties to approach this action with full information about Microsoft's potential exposure to class-wide damages."
Bloomberg first reported this development.
Update, 12:20: Microsoft's attorneys listed several ways the company would be hurt if the proceedings continued with the case continues with the class-certification appeal unresolved.
It would "cost Microsoft a substantial sum of money for discovery and divert key personnel from full-time tasks; would intrude on sensitive pricing decisions and strategies by OEMs, wholesalers, and retailers; and would jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill with class members all with respect to claims that might not
proceed on a class basis at all."
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Bill Gates, who last week ended his full-time involvement with Microsoft, was often right. He made a career, a company and an industry by looking over the horizon.