U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall agreed with Microsoft that its arbitration provision was valid and overcame a class action bid. She wrote that the plaintiff had clicked through agreeing to the MSA at least once, and possibly as often as three times.
This decision reinforces the value of an arbitration provision to ward off class action cases. Secondly, more broadly, it underscores the importance of having users unambiguously agree to accept online agreements by clicking through, rather than merely providing notice.
“The arbitration clause here says in refreshingly plain English that it ‘is as broad as it can be,’” Judge Gottschall wrote, quoting from the Master Service Agreement. “The clause reaches ‘any claim or controversy between you and us concerning the services, the software related to the services, the services’ or software’s price, your Microsoft account, your Skype account, or these terms, under any legal theory.’ ... The claims here fall within the scope of the broad language of the MSA’s arbitration clause.”