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Lindows: Microsoft settlement site stays

The Linux seller says it will continue to help Californians claim a chunk of Microsoft's legal settlement via its MSfreePC Web site, despite a challenge from the software giant.

Linux seller said Tuesday that it will continue to help Californians process legal claims against Microsoft, despite a challenge by the software giant.

An attorney representing Microsoft sent Lindows a cease-and-desist letter late last week objecting to the company's MSfreePC site. The site offers to process claims on behalf of current and former California residents who qualify for proceeds from the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft. Microsoft attorney Robert Rosenfeld said claims submitted by the Lindows service won't qualify under the terms of the settlement and demanded that Lindows remove the site.

In a letter sent to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Lindows CEO Michael Robertson said the MSfreePC site performs a valuable service for consumers and will remain in operation. He challenged Microsoft's objections to the service, particularly the assertion that claims need a physical signature to be valid.

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"You seem to have no objections when digital signatures are used to attempt to build Microsoft's profits, such as with MSN, Expedia or .Net," Robertson wrote. "I would also point out that Microsoft uses digital signatures to bind people to their restrictive end-user licensing agreements. It is hypocritical for Microsoft to endorse digital transactions to bolster your business but resist them whenever it may negatively impact your bottom line."

A Microsoft representative said the company was reviewing Lindows' response and would "take whatever steps we believe are appropriate."

Robertson challenged Microsoft to bring it on. "Our plan is to continue to offer the MSfreePC service in spite of your threats," he wrote. "If required, we will be a voice in the courtroom defending a consumer's rights to use technology and an online process to secure their settlement claims. I believe your company refers to this as the 'right to innovate.'"