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Brushing aside Microsoft Corp.’s objections, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stuart Pollak on Tuesday certified two classes in an antitrust and unfair business practices complaint filed against the software manufacturer. Pollak said he was satisfied that plaintiffs would fall into one of two classes: those who purchased Microsoft’s operating system software or its word processing and spreadsheet software. “The court finds that the proposed classes are ascertainable, that classes are sufficiently numerous, that the named representatives’ claims are typical of those of the classes and that the interests of the class will be fairly and adequately represented,” the judge wrote in his 20-page order in Lingo v. Microsoft, Case No. 301357. The class action consolidates 28 different complaints filed throughout California into one big case. Lead counsel Eugene Crew of San Francisco’s Townsend and Townsend and Crew was gratified with the order, saying “the stakes are high and I hope this decision will get Microsoft’s attention.” “I think this is probably the largest class action in California history,” he added. Reached at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash., Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan called Pollak’s ruling “the first step in a long process. We believe that at the end of the day, far from having harmed consumers, the conduct at issue has benefited consumers.” The case is set for trial in March 2002.

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