140w ago - Update: CourtHouseNews.com now reports that a federal judge has dismissed (PDF) the remaining claim by class who said Sony reneged on its promise to let PlayStation 3 video game consoles function as computers.
Similar to their previous request, Sony has now filed a motion to dismiss the PS3 Other OS Class Action Lawsuit.
To quote from Groklaw (linked above): There's news from the class action litigation, In re Sony PS3 'Other OS' Litigation, where the plaintiffs are suing Sony Computer Entertainment America for removing OtherOS from PlayStation 3s.
SCEA has filed another motion to dismiss the class action case, once again saying that the plaintiffs' newly filed First Amended Complaint is insufficient to state a claim. The original complaint's claims, except for one, were dismissed, with the judge giving the plaintiffs a chance to refile. Now that they have, SCEA says this refiled complaint should be tossed out also. There will be a hearing on all this on May 12th.
And the class action plaintiffs are asking the judge to help them get discovery that SCEA is, they claim, reluctant to provide. Role reversal. In the SCEA v. Hotz litigation, SCEA is all about discovery, all they can get. Here, it's the opposite.
There is a transcript from a February 9th hearing in the Sony class action attached as an exhibit to the plaintiffs' letter to the judge in the case, and I think you'll be amazed. Would you like to know what SCEA's lawyers think of customers who use Linux? We get to find out, because the hearing begins with SCEA asking the judge for access to the plaintiffs' hard drives.
Why would you want that, the judge asks? These are not defendants accused of anything, remember. Sony is the one in the hot seat, but here is the incredible answer: because, says their attorney, these plaintiffs say they used Linux, so SCEA suspects they were part of a hacking conspiracy, and they'd like to check. There's more, and I'll tell you all about it.
And SCEA claims in the transcript that it wasn't the entity that decided to drop OtherOS. It says in this courtroom that Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is responsible for that decision. In Hotz, SCEA says it is responsible for pretty much everything to do with PS3s in the US, or at least I got that impression.
SCEA also tells the judge at the hearing that there's been a change in the corporate setup. SCEI isn't the parent of SCEA any more. So I did a little research on that. Who are they then? And how how were they related? I have found some press releases that clarify very nicely.
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Although Sony previously admitted and then apologized for removing PS3 Other OS functionality due to security concerns, today IGN reports that according to the ongoing lawsuit Sony states the PlayStation 3 Other OS removal was due to cost not security.
To quote: An amended class action complaint filed against Sony Computer Entertainment America this month is claiming the company removed the 'Other OS' feature from the PlayStation 3 to save money and not for security reasons.
In April 2010, SCEA removed the Other OS feature due to "security concerns." The complaint says the statement is a "fabrication," saying SCEA gave those reasons as a pretext so it could argue the Warranty and Terms of Service allowed for the removal of the feature.
In reality, SCEI and SCEA removed this feature because it was expensive to maintain (as they previously admitted when the feature was removed from the "slim" models - but which they conveniently removed from SCEA's website); they were losing money on every PS3 unit sold (due to poor decisions in the planning and design of the Cell chip as noted above and given the PS3's extra features); SCEA needed to promote and sell games to make their money back on the loss-leading PS3 consoles (and there was no profit in users utilizing the computer functions of the PS3); and IBM wanted to sell its expensive servers utilizing the Cell processor (users could cluster PS3s for the same purposes much less expensively).
The complaint also says it's "virtually impossible" to use the 'Other OS' for piracy.
When the 'Other OS' feature is enabled, the software prevents the proper operation of the gaming feature to avoid allowing the features to interplay. In order for a hacker to pirate a game, it is necessary to perfectly emulate the operating system for which the game is designed, including the API, which is the interface for the game OS that supports all of the features of a game.
However, when the Other OS is in use, the API and other hardware features are blocked, including the graphics chip in the PS3, which makes it impossible to run a pirated game on the Other OS. As of January 2011, Sony had yet to identify a single instance in which someone used the Other OS to pirate protected content.
Last month, the court dismissed all but one claim from the original complaint filed in April 2010. The judge still allowed the plaintiff's "Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" claim because Sony could not show that its use of the firmware update to remove the 'Other OS' feature was authorized.
"Sony's actions are like a car manufacturer telling a buyer that it is going to remove the engine because it does not want to service the part anymore and then telling the consumer, 'tough luck, we are not going to give you a refund,'" said Co-Lead counsel James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld in a statement.
"This type of activity is exactly what our country's consumer protection laws were designed to protect against."
SCEA has until this Monday, March 28 to issue a response. A copy of the amended complaint can be seen http://ps3movies.ign.com/ps3/document/article/115/1157475/IGN_PS3_Filed_Amended_Complaint.pdf.