It isn’t clear whether this case can act as a precedent for other similar lawsuits. Sony settled a class-action lawsuit in an ‘optional update’ for the PS3’s operating system with potentially billions of dollars in damages.
Microsoft’s strategic push to get more users in its Windows 10 camp has had a very tangible backlash and if others catch on to this money making scheme, it could prove disastrous to the company.
The Seattle Times has reported that a small business owner from California has successfully sued Microsoft for $10,000 in “compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer” after its unauthorized and unwanted update service left her primary work computer unusably slow and prone to frequent crashes.
“I had never heard of Windows 10,” said Teri Goldstein, a Sausalito-based travel agent to the Seattle Times. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”
Goldstein appears to have hit the jackpot with this monetary award as many Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users have complained about the upgrade process which takes nearly as long as the new version has been available.
Earlier this year, in a strategic move designed to bring more users to its Windows 10 camp, Microsoft changed its update to Windows 10 from “optional” to “recommended”. Simultaneously, in yet another significant change, Microsoft switched the behavior of its ubiquitous red X button which in fact accepted its upgrade recommendation rather than canceling it.
On its part, in this case Redmond has denied any wrongdoing while adjusting its hallow. In a move designed to dent any further similar lawsuits, Redmond has released a new tutorial for disabling the update notifications.
In spite of this, there is still a chance that not doing anything at all will result in receiving an unwanted pre-scheduled update.
Perhaps, others could find ways to monetize this flaw and get handouts from Microsoft, for their forced upgrade headaches. However, it is unclear whether this case can act as a precedent for more lawsuits.
According to The Seattle Times, initially Microsoft had planned to appeal this ruling, but had a change of heart so as to avoid increased litigation fees.
There is also the very real possibility that Microsoft withdrew from the case since not doing so will draw more media attention on this flaw which in turn could result in more lawsuits.
Incidentally, in a similar case involving an “optional” update procedure for PlayStation 3 consoles ended in a class action settlement with potentially millions of dollars in damages for Sony.
Here’s hoping tech savvy lawyers don’t have a field day with this one.