Datel Sues Microsoft Over Xbox 360 Memory Card Lock Out
Third party accessory maker Datel Design & Development has launched an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft over the platform holder’s decision to lock out unlicensed memory cards on the Xbox 360.
A recent Xbox 360 system update introduced new features like Facebook and Twitter, but it also rendered “unauthorised memory units” incompatible with the console. According to UK-based Datel, Microsoft’s decision is unlawful and prevents customers from exercising their freedom of choice.
“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,” said Howard Rice, the senior attorney representing Datel. “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.”
The suit [pdf], which seeks “relief pursuant to the California Unfair Competition Law”, adds: “On information and belief, 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. To the contrary, Microsoft’s actions will leave approximately 50,000 consumers with useless memory cards (and without the ability to access their data on the cards), forestall innovation, and deprive future consumers of the benefits of competition.”