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Datel sues Microsoft over memory cards

By David Jenkins

Tue 24 Nov 2009 8:58am GMT / 3:58am EST / 12:58am PST

UK firm files lawsuit after "unauthorised" 360 memory units are disabled

Peripheral manufacturer Datel has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, after the console maker blocked all but its own memory devices from working on the Xbox 360.

Law firm Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin will be representing Datel in San Francisco federal court, with the senior attorney for the case commenting: "Microsoft has taken steps to render inoperable the competing Datel memory card for no visible purpose other than to have that market entirely to themselves."

"They accomplished their recent update by making a system change that will not recognise or allow operation of a memory card with greater capacity than their own. We believe that with the power Microsoft enjoys in the market for Xbox accessories this conduct is unlawful," he added.

The source of the controversy is the recent dashboard update, which rendered all "unauthorised Memory Units" inactive. A brief description of the change, quoted in Datel's official complaint, was made by Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb, who warned that: "If you continue to use an unauthorised Memory Unit after the update, you will not be able to access your stored profile or saved games."

Datel, who are asking for a jury trial, contend that: "Microsoft's purpose in disabling Datel's memory cards is 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's memory cards."

Howard Rice goes further and describes Microsoft's actions as "predatory conduct undertaken to deliberately harm competition with no benefit whatsoever to consumers."

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