Supreme Court To Hear Microsoft Appeal Regarding Xbox 360 Disc Scratching

A dispute involving scratched Xbox 360 discs that stems back nearly will be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States, which will decide if there's enough cause for Microsoft to face class-action lawsuit. While that sounds like an easy task, lower courts have disagreed on the matter, hence how it was able to reach the Supreme Court.

At issue is a lawsuit alleging that Xbox 360 consoles had a tendency to scratch optical discs and that Microsoft knew it was a problem. The lawsuit essentially blames the symptom on a design flaw, one in which there was little to no protection in place to prevent vibrations and small movements from scratching discs and rendering them unplayable.

Xbox 360

The lawsuit was filed in 2012. It claimed that some 55,000 users had complained about scratched discs, some coming in as early as 2008, and that Microsoft was aware of the issue before the console even launched. A federal judge dismissed the suit that same year on the basis that there weren't enough people to justify class-action litigation.

Much to Microsoft's dismay, the decision was overturned by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. As far as Microsoft is concerned, the issue isn't a design defect, but one of mishandling by customers. The Redmond outfit claims that only 0.4 percent of Xbox 360 owners reported disc scratching issues.

In a court document from 2008, Hiroo Umeno, a manager for Microsoft, admitted to knowing about the Xbox 360's tendency to scratch discs in certain situations.

"When we first discovered the problem in September or October, when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what's causing the problem," Umeno said.

The Supreme Court won't rule on whether or not Microsoft is guilty, only whether or not a class-action lawsuit can proceed in the matter.