American software giant Microsoft has made it harder for customers to initiate class actions against it.
In new End User License Agreements, to be rolled out with the new Windows 8 operating system and already part of the Xbox Live agreements, customers upset with the product must pursue the company through a small-claims court or go to arbitration.
The new licences follow on from a 2011 US Supreme Court ruling that upheld the legality of such clauses. Telecommunications company AT&T already makes use of such provisions in its contracts.
Recent class actions against Microsoft include a 2008 case where customers claimed Microsoft had misled them by authorising PC makers to label computers as Vista “capable”, when in fact they could not run all editions of the operating system. The case was a year later stripped of its class action status after Microsoft successfully argued the “Vista capable” stickers would not have been customer’s primary motivation in buying a PC.