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M$ seeks protection from spyware firms

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The software maker warned Tuesday that two bills approved by the House of Representatives this week fail to prevent "frivolous lawsuits" filed by adware and spyware companies that are upset when their code is removed.

"These bills leave companies that are responding to consumer demand for strong anti-spyware tools vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits brought by the very companies responsible for the proliferation of spyware and other deceptive software," Jack Krumholtz, the head of Microsoft's lobbying office, said in a statement. Microsoft began offering a spyware removal utility this year.

Microsoft's fears are hardly theoretical. Gator, now known as Claria, sued anti-spyware company PC Pitstop on grounds that included trade libel, false advertising and tortious interference. Claria distributes pop-up ad software, often bundled with free applications, that some surveys say is installed without a person's direct knowledge and consent.

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