Italian suit over preinstalled Windows likely next week

A consumer group is targeting major PC makers with class action lawsuits

An Italian legal initiative seeking compensation from PC manufacturers for undesired preinstalled Microsoft software will begin next week, the head of the consumer group promoting the class action lawsuit said Thursday.

"We will begin depositing our requests with the courts next week, I think. The lawyers are back from the holidays and are already working on the preparations," Vincenzo Donvito, president of ADUC (Association for the Rights of Users and Consumers), said in a telephone interview.

The lawsuits, which take advantage of new Italian legislation permitting class actions that went into effect at the beginning of the year, is likely to affect all the major PC manufacturers, Donvito said. The ADUC president named Hewlett-Packard as one likely target, saying the legal action would concern the manufacturers that sell the largest numbers of computers.

HP officials were not immediately available for comment."Technically, there will be a class action for each manufacturer and the papers will be served in the cities where the companies have their Italian headquarters," Donvito said.

Around 2,000 people have expressed interest in participating in the initiative, which is open to individuals who bought PCs with preinstalled Windows but rejected the software license and left the OS unused."We have already won a pilot case on the point of principle," Donvito said. "It's no longer a question of principle, but a concrete action to obtain a refund."

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