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Microsoft sued over Xbox shut offs

by on24 November 2009


Modder fumes

Datel Design & Development is suing Microsoft after the software company locked out unauthorised Xbox 360 memory units. Datel makes popular third-party memory units for the gaming console which Microsoft thinks are modding.

The British outfit claims that Redmond violated federal antitrust laws by restricting the use of Datel memory units in a firmware update to the Xbox 360 dashboard. It wants a jury trial, monetary damages, injunctive relief and a fully fueled airplane on the tarmac with the engines running.

The lawsuit said that the dashboard update is intended to, and does in fact, disable Datel's memory cards. While Microsoft claimed that the goal was to protect the machine from pirates, the real goal was to prevent consumers from choosing a Datel product that offers far better value for the price.

There is no benefit to consumers from Microsoft's decision to target and disable Datel memory cards. To the contrary, Microsoft's actions will leave approximately 50,000 consumers with useless memory cards, forestall innovation, and deprive future consumers of the benefits of competition, the law suit said,

Datel's memory units cost significantly less than Microsoft-branded ones. Microsoft's 512MB memory unit sells for $30 on Amazon; a 2GB Datel unit – with four times the space – goes for $40.

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