Latest lawsuit for the software giant alleges anti-trust violations for fees charged to downgrade to XP from Vista

Microsoft is no stranger to lawsuits and allegations of antitrust violations. Many consumers and other software makers have claimed that the software firm has a monopoly in the operating system market. So far, Microsoft has been fined in Europe and other countries for antitrust violations.

The latest allegations of antitrust violations come from a lawsuit filed by a Seattle woman named Emma Alvarado. In court papers filed by Alvarado, the woman claims that she was forced to pay to downgrade a Lenovo notebook she purchased from Vista to Windows XP. According to the suit, Microsoft and its partners are able to charge fees due to the lack of competition in the OS market.

The woman says that she was charged $59.25 to downgrade to XP on her Lenovo computer and that the fee is a violation of antitrust rules. In court documents Alvarado writes, "Since the introduction of Vista, Microsoft has effectively eliminated competition in the operating system PC market and created a monopoly position for itself in that market."

Microsoft told InformationWeek in an email, "Microsoft does not have a downgrade program. It does offer downgrade rights as part of some Windows Vista licenses, including Windows Vista Business purchased through the OEM channel. Microsoft does not charge or receive any additional royalty if a customer exercises those rights."

In other words Microsoft is saying that it did not charge Alvarado the nearly $60 it cost to downgrade to Windows XP, Lenovo did.

Alvarado goes on to claim in the court documents, "Microsoft has used its power to coerce OEMs, internet access providers and others into agreeing to restrictive and anti-competitive licensing terms for its Windows XP operating system in order to stifle competition in the market. Microsoft did so in order to maintain, protect, and extend its market power in operating systems software into the next generation of personal computing, to lessen competition, and to enhance its monopoly position."

Damages being sought in the case are not specified, but Alvarado is seeking to have the case classified as a class action. No official legal response has come from Microsoft at this point.

This lawsuit is the least of Microsoft's worries right now; the firm missed its earnings estimates and cut 5,000 jobs recently.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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