Microsoft hit by antitrust action again

Convicted monopolist Microsoft appears to be in trouble with the law again.

A Californian court has given the UK based Datel Design & Development the nod to take Microsoft to the cleaners on five of the six antitrust claims it filed against Microsoft.

The dispute is over Microsoft’s decision to lock-out Datel from flogging third-party Xbox 360 accessories.

Federal Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte denied all but one of Microsoft’s motions to throw out the case Datel brought to court in November.

Even that last claim could still go ahead if Datel amends it. That one was over Microsoft’s alleged monopolization of the Xbox Live market.

Datel floggs memory cards and controllers for the Xbox 360. It was shut out of the market after an October 2009 firmware update made its accessories incompatible with the popular video game console.

Redmond said it was a side effect of a crackdown on Xbox Live cheaters, shrugged and ignored the howls of protest.

Laporte rejected the software company’s argument that gamers agree to not use third-party accessories when they buy an Xbox 360 and receive their contract and warranty.

The Judge said that if Microsoft’s reading of the law were accepted, it would be impermissible to use the Xbox with a variety of accessories not manufactured by Microsoft, including televisions and music players.

Datel said the Staffordshire, England-based company will proceed with its lawsuit, which demands a jury trial and seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

Microsoft does not have much of a history of successful anti-trust hearings.