U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz on Friday dismissed 38 private antitrust cases brought against


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claiming that the software maker manipulated the price of its


operating system.

The lawsuits were part of 61 cases consolidated in Motz's court. The judge found against the plaintiffs, saying they purchased Windows from personal computer makers and not directly from Microsoft.

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The ruling was based on a 1977

Supreme Court

decision restricting damages against antitrust violators to direct customers of the company.

Earlier in the day, in a separate but related legal matter, several states and the

Justice Department

asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to

uphold Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's previous ruling to split Microsoft into two companies.