Zango is suing the makers of a spyware blocking app for a minimum of $35 million, and it looks as though Google might have something to do with the decision to file the suit.
Zango claims that its "consensually installed" software "has come under surreptitious attack" by a Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools, so Zango's suing PC Tools. According to the claim (view the PDF here), "Spyware Doctor provides the computer user with no specific warning that Zango's software application will be deleted; instead, Zango's software simply vanishes from the user's computer, leaving Zango with no means of contacting or communicating with its customers."
Evidently, because Spyware Doctor comes with the "Google Pack" of software, a whole lotta people have downloaded it, meaning, according to the suit, "Zango has suffered irreparable harm to its business model and reputation that continues day by day."
And this is interesting, too: "Zango has also learned that consumers downloading the Google Pack after March 29 who did not already have Zango's software installed are now wholly unable to install Zango software, thereby eliminating Google Pack users as potential Zango customers." The complaint says G Pack labels Zango software as an "Infection" engaged in a "Malicious Action." Zango wants no less than $35 million in damages.
A post on tech lawyer Eric Goldman's blog alerted me to the suit. He's not so sure it's the best move by Zango. However, he does concede, "At some point we're going to have to reach a social consensus about what level of user authorization is required for one software program to annihilate another program. Maybe this case will help us understand that issue a little better."
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
March 19, 2014