Lenovo's been in damage control ever since news broke that it was installing a careless piece of adware called Superfish onto consumer laptops and desktops, but the court of public opinion isn't the only one it has some explaining to do. According to reports, a class-action lawsuit against Lenovo and Superfish was filed at the end of last week claiming "fraudulent" business practices.
You can now submit claims for your piece of a $310 million settlement reached between a dozen different Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) makers in a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the companies of price fixing shenanigans. That may be putting it lightly -- in court documents, the Department of Justice (DoJ) called it "one of the largest cartels ever discovered."
Microsoft has already received a bunch of negative press over various aspects of the Xbox One, much of which has been addressed to gamers' satisfaction (such as removing the requirement to dial home every 24 hours). However, there remains a point of possible contention that you'll find on Microsoft's Xbox One Pre-Order Production Information website. Among the list of requirements to use the Xbox One, gamers must waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit against Microsoft.
Professional networking site LinkedIn recently found itself the recipient of a class action lawsuit alleging that the company has been hacking into its users' email accounts and downloading their contacts, which it would then use to send out marketing materials. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that LinkedIn essentially impersonates its users. Blake Lawit, Senior Director of Litigation at LinkedIn, denied the accusations in a blog post.
We suppose it was inevitable that a class action lawsuit of some sort would be filed against Microsoft over its handling of Surface RT. If you recall, Microsoft was never very forthcoming about its Surface RT sales figures, waiting until its Q4 2013 earnings report to reveal that Surface RT was essentially a flop, causing the company to take a $900 million charge on unsold inventory. The class action suit filed against Microsoft accuses the company of making misleading statements in regards to its financial performance and Surface RT in particular.
Despite reversing course on ToS changes, Instagram faces a first civil lawsuit.
Instagram quickly backpedaled from a revised Terms of Service (ToS) agreement that said users would have to "agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos...in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you," but it still managed to trip over a class action lawsuit. The civil suit was filed in San Francisco and charges Instagram with breach of contract and other claims.
Sony opened a legal can of worms last April when it chose to withdraw support for PS3’s “Other OS” feature with the introduction of firmware version 3.21, citing concerns about the system’s security. But the company soon found itself at the receiving end of a flurry of class action lawsuits from console owners feeling shortchanged by the removal of a feature that once figured prominently in marketing campaigns. The feature allowed other operating systems to be installed on non-slim PS3s.
"Sony claims a universal right to change or remove functionality from the gaming console. The Consumer Council strongly believes there needs to be a limit to what constitutes a reasonable change to products we buy—and that terms of service that grant the manufacturer full access to literally downgrade the product or limit the functionality are unreasonable and in clear violation of the Marketing Control Act," Øyvind H. Kaldestad of the Consumer Council told ArsTechnica.
"When a company use [sic] terms like 'updates' or 'upgrades,' it is reasonable to expect a significant improvement of the product and not the risk of being stuck with a lesser product."
The Consumer council also lambasted consumer electronics companies like Sony for abusing after-sale access to connected devices “to do almost whatever he or she wants” under the pretext of enhancing these devices through software updates.
Filing of claims in the settlement of the class-action lawsuit that was brought against NVIDIA a couple of years ago for shipping defective GPUs inside certain Dell, HP and Apple notebooks is now underway. It was alleged that the faulty NVIDIA parts undermined the performance of the affected notebooks, but the graphics chip maker eventually reached a settlement in the class-action lawsuit in September, 2010. The settlement was approved by the court in December.
Those who bought the affected laptops are eligible to file a claim for replacement or reimbursement or both, according to the website NVIDIA has set up for the settlement. All important information with regards to the settlement and the filing of claims, including lists of affected models and symptoms covered, can be found on the site. Those at the receiving end of the company’s faulty parts have until March 14, 2011 to file their claims.
Some of the problems that users of the affected notebooks had to put up with include: distorted or scrambled video (all), complete loss of video output (all), garbled images (Dell/HP), and failure to detect wireless network (HP).
Class action lawsuits lately seem a dime-a-dozen. Someone, on behalf of a nebulously defined ‘harmed class’ is suing a manufacturer because diagonal screen sizes or hard drive capacities are misleading. The goal seems reasonable: rectifying a wrong done to a group of similarly situated people. But the end result seems little more than the manufacturer getting off the hook, a big pay day for a law firm, and the harmed class getting little more than a pat on the head.
Take for example Microsoft’s price-fixing case in Wisconsin. Microsoft was ordered to cough up $234 million to Wisconsin consumers and businesses, according to the settlement. The distribution was in the form of vouchers, with values dependent upon what Microsoft products were purchased. For example, if you had bought a copy of Office you’d get a voucher for $23.
Except, of course, the vouchers are redeemable only for Microsoft products. It would seem that purchasers got nothing of real value from the deal, while Microsoft made off like a bandit. You’d either buy more Microsoft product, for which you were over-charged in the first place, or round-file the voucher, saving Microsoft any expense, save the printing.
How useful are such settlements? No word is yet in on redemption in Wisconsin, but in a similar deal in California, where $1 billion in vouchers were distributed, fewer than one million of the 14 million vouchers were redeemed.
But, law firms don’t get vouchers for their work. They get cold, hard cash. In the Wisconsin case a Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court’s order that Microsoft pay the law firm, Zelle, Hofmann, Voebel & Mason LLP, $5.6 million for their work in defending the interests of the harmed class. Not a bad payday, considering how their clients made out.
Up to 1 million Xbox modders were pretty pissed to find that they had been banned from Xbox Live following the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the biggest launch in entertainment history. The mass ban was intended to prevent pirated copies of the highly anticipated game from spreading, a notion Microsoft will now have to defend in a class action lawsuit filed against the company.
According to the lawsuit, the timing of Microsoft's widespread ban may have resulted in more Xbox Live subscription sales than if the bans had taken place before the release of Halo 3: ODST and CoDMW2. The lawsuit also claims that some of the bans locked out users who had modded their consoles for reasons other piracy.