Microsoft has filed a motion to dismiss the antitrust suit brought against it by memory card maker Datel, who's alleging that the Xbox 360's recent lock-out of third-party storage devices deliberately harms competition
Interestingly, according to a TechFlash report
, the company's motion (PDF link
), Microsoft is relying on a precedent set by Apple to make a case in its favor.
Last year, Apple was able to stop computer-maker PsyStar from manufacturing machines that ran Mac OSX without Apple's authorization, and prevailed when PsyStar alleged antitrust. Just as the court determined only Apple devices can run Apple operating systems, Microsoft says, Xbox 360 consoles must use first-party accessories.
Microsoft also takes issue with Datel's definition of the field in which it claims anti-competition -- "Multiplayer Online Dedicated Gaming Systems" -- in which it only includes Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, not Nintendo's Wii or any portable game console.
As the Wii has outsold both consoles, any antitrust claims would certainly be weakened by acknowledging Nintendo's console, so Microsoft is arguing for its inclusion in the category as part of the motion.
"Datel’s monopolization theory depends on excluding from the relevant market numerous products that fit Datel’s own definition, such as the Nintendo Wii, the Nintendo DS, the Sony PSP, and the Sony PlayStation 2 — all multiplayer online dedicated gaming systems," says the company in its motion. "Many of these products have outsold the Xbox 360."
Microsoft removed support for third-party memory cards with an Xbox 360 software update in October 2009. Datel's original suit claims it was told the "disabling of third-party memory units was an unintentional effect".
Microsoft later told media outlets that it implemented the lockout to prevent cheaters, and to maintain tighter control over compatibility, safety and compliance, something its dismissal motion continues to argue it has the right to do.