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Consumer without Aero launches attack on Microsoft

A class action lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. has been filed for the company’s Windows Vista Capable logo on new computers. According to Seattle P-I, the suit alleges that it was deceptive to include the logo on machines not capable of running all the features Microsoft was touting as new features of Windows Vista.

To run Windows Vista, PCs require a minimum of 512MB of RAM, an 800MHz or faster processor and a DirectX 9-capable graphics card—but those requirements do not guarantee a computer of running the new operating system will run with all new features. One such feature is “Aero,” an updated graphical user interface that requires both a relatively powerful graphics card and one of the most expensive versions of Windows Vista.

“In sum, Microsoft engaged in bait and switch -- assuring consumers they were purchasing 'Vista Capable' machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as 'Vista,'” read the complaint.

The suit also alleges that Bill Gates played a part in misleading consumers after making a comment that users would be able to upgrade to Windows Vista for less than $100.

“In fact, one can only 'upgrade' to Home Basic for that price, which Mr. Gates and Microsoft know is a product that lacks the features marketed by Microsoft as being Vista,” the suit said, alleging that Gates' statement “furthered Microsoft's unfair and deceptive conduct.”

“Anybody who purchased a PC that had the Windows Vista Capable logo got the core experience of Windows Vista,” said Linda Norman, a Microsoft associate general counsel. “We have different versions, and they do offer different features. ... The Windows (Vista) core experience is a huge advance over Windows XP, we believe, and provides some great features, particularly in the area of security and reliability, and just general ease of use.”



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How Empty Are People's lives...
By rushfan2006 on 4/4/2007 4:57:28 PM , Rating: 5
All the comments posted before mine, I agree with. This is just ridiculous.

But you know what strikes me the most when any of these kind of lawsuits come up in the news....the very fact that someone, somewhere actually got so disturbed and frustrated by such a frivilous thing, like in this case, his/her PC not being able to run "Aero"...they actually had the nerve to set aside time and drive down to a lawyer's office to file this claim.

Its simply in a word "pathetic".

My god can't we have an amendment that makes it ILLEGAL to bring such cases to a court at all.

Make it so the case has to prove a set sum of financial loss or physical pain and suffering, death, disfiguring,etc...

But these "spoiled brat didn't get my way" or "i'm too stupid so it can't be MY fault" lawsuits have to really go away...




RE: How Empty Are People's lives...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/4/2007 5:02:24 PM , Rating: 4
> "somewhere actually got so disturbed and frustrated...they actually had the nerve to set aside time and drive down to a lawyer's office to file this claim

No, you have it backwards. Some lawyer smelled money, then went out and found a "victim" to seed the class action suit.


By lucyfek on 4/4/2007 9:08:13 PM , Rating: 3
yea, i hate these mf lawyers that pretend to be on your side. recently i received some cal paperwork for some dram memory with supposedly rigged price - well i expect to get some pittance at the expense of higher prices in the future (surely the fat money they pocket has to be covered whenever manufacturers sell future products). until these la(w)yers take care of opec like organizations, unions and others that affect prices to much greater extent (for products/services i really had to buy) just quit pretending and consider price fixing just another free market tool (unless a government was involved). same applies to to this lawsuit - can ignorance be an excuse (try this defense at any court) - i don't consider xp running on 512MB a great experience much less vista (but surely both will run so the pc is capable).
i have no love for ms but same applies to others that try to sell bs under the pretense of charity.


By crystal clear on 4/5/2007 1:01:44 AM , Rating: 1
You are Right-Locked on target-FIRE


By theapparition on 4/5/2007 7:28:04 AM , Rating: 2
Completely correct. In the end, if this goes anywhere, all "wronged" consumers will get is a $10 off coupon good towards their next purchase of a Microsoft product, while the lawyers involved will walk away with cash in pocket.

That of course is speculation, but rarely do these class action suits result in any direct remuneration to the alleged victims. They usually work out as compensation for future purchases.


RE: How Empty Are People's lives...
By mark2ft on 4/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: How Empty Are People's lives...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/4/2007 11:15:23 PM , Rating: 3
> "Misrepresentation can be serious..."

It can be. In this particular case, however, it's not.

> "for instance, one of the plaintiffs is a business owner who purchased a volume license of Vista and 500 computers for an internet cafe chain, only to realize that his investment would not be able to take advantage of the Aero's visual appeal..."

And? He wasn't promised Aero. He was promised Vista. And- -more to the point-- the person making the promise wasn't even Microsoft, it was the hardware vendor. So why sue Microsoft?

> "Don't worry. The majority of class actions get thrown out..."

The fact that the vast majority of suits are frivolous is supposed to reassure us? Even when they are thrown out, they still clogs up the judicial system and, by forcing manufacturers to defend against them, raises prices for all of us.


By mark2ft on 4/5/2007 3:03:37 PM , Rating: 3
Just to clarify myself: I wasn't trying to argue on the substantive matter of this case--I was just trying to talk about the procedural requirements of a federal district court.

quote:
It can be. In this particular case, however, it's not.


OK, that's your opinion, and I respect that. I wasn't saying that there was misrepresentation. I was merely trying to explain the procedural rules regarding filing a complaint, and the standard of what is OK for a complaint and what is not OK as a complaint in federal court. My apologies if I sounded like I was trying to say that there was misrepresentation. (By the way, such questions are for the jury to figure out--and here, it's not even at the stage because this class action complaint needs to get certified before going any further in the litigation process.)

quote:
And? He wasn't promised Aero. He was promised Vista. And- -more to the point-- the person making the promise wasn't even Microsoft, it was the hardware vendor. So why sue Microsoft?


Point taken. I actually looked into the complaint that the plaintiffs filed (it was in the link, on the left as PDF) and it looks like plaintiffs here did NOT sue anyone else but Microsoft. Ideally, you'd want to name as many related defendants as possible, so that Microsoft can't say "oh, I'm sorry, but the real culprit is X, who is not here in court because you didn't name him as defendant." (the classic "empty chair" defense)

quote:
The fact that the vast majority of suits are frivolous is supposed to reassure us?


Generally speaking, the majority of suits in federal court (not class action) go past the pleading stage. This is the stage of filing a complaint, and the defendant answering. This is because of the liberal rules, as I described above. After this, you move on to discovery, which is a stage where you gather all the evidence. Then you go to trial. Then you get a verdict. And then you might appeal that decision, whereupon the appellate court can do things like reverse the decision for a new trial, or just affirm the lower court's holding.

Class actions, though, are pretty hard to maintain past the pleading stage, just because there are so many rules to satisfy (you need to certify the class, and this requires defining the class, among a slew of other requirements, which makes it pretty hard for plaintiffs to go through with the class action).

quote:
Even when they are thrown out, they still clogs up the judicial system and, by forcing manufacturers to defend against them, raises prices for all of us.


I agree. But knocking a case out early in the pleading stage shouldn't take much of a toll in the judicial process. It shouldn't cost the manufacturers much money, because it's nothing compared to the real work that goes on later in the litigation process, like discovery and showing up in court (or even deciding to settle out of court).


RE: How Empty Are People's lives...
By lucyfek on 4/5/2007 12:46:07 AM , Rating: 3
being a law student you're (will be) involved in the scheme and quite frankly i consider your explanation as a form of pr, not convincing by the way (professional? - yes). the issue is the "force feeding" - most of the so called class action lawsuits (the more dubious reasons the better) does not benefit customers but only few lawyers that had come up with the idea of the lawsuit. consumers as a rule fork the bills (essentially losing even more). and the vista capable thing is just the perfect example (surely some part of vista price covers present/future liabilities).
sue ms so it opened its file/os standards so others could create compatible applications/os; do it for reasonable price (if you can understand the meaning of reasonable the way the non-lawyers do) and i'll call it win win situations. it's a pity but most of the "law entrepreneurs" present themselves as an example of pure greed. sorry if this generalization offends you, but this is my opinion.


By mark2ft on 4/5/2007 3:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
being a law student you're (will be) involved in the scheme and quite frankly i consider your explanation as a form of pr, not convincing by the way (professional? - yes).


What "scheme"? Yes, lawyers have a bad reputation in the US. But don't stereotype ME just because I'm a law student.

quote:
most of the so called class action lawsuits (the more dubious reasons the better) does not benefit customers but only few lawyers that had come up with the idea of the lawsuit. consumers as a rule fork the bills (essentially losing even more).


Yes, in many instances, lawyers get the bulk of the monetary awards, while plaintiffs often get discount "coupons" for their next purchase from the same defendant-manufactuer! This is one of the biggest criticisms of how class action suits have been played out, and like my professor, I agree that this is a problem. But I don't agree that the aim of class actions is to sue someone for dubious reasons. As an attorney, you want to WIN in court. You don't want to lose case after case because of your dubious reasons.

quote:
sue ms so it opened its file/os standards so others could create compatible applications/os; do it for reasonable price (if you can understand the meaning of reasonable the way the non-lawyers do) and i'll call it win win situations.


Regarding suing MS to make it open up its file/os standards: yes, this may be a good reason. I guess the law to back that up would be something along the lines of antitrust statutes.

About reasonable price: well, sure. The problem is the class action nature. The bigger the class, the less money each class member gets. Here the plaintiffs didn't specify the exact amount of damages (go to the "Prayer" part of the complaint PDF in the link). But they did say that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, so hopefully the lawyers won't end up gobbling up everything.

quote:
it's a pity but most of the "law entrepreneurs" present themselves as an example of pure greed. sorry if this generalization offends you, but this is my opinion.


I know, this is a growing problem. I had a speaker during my law school orientation that lawyers are getting paid too much. This is true in a lot of cases--class actions being a good example.


RE: How Empty Are People's lives...
By ZmaxDP on 4/5/2007 1:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I believe this is why the plaintiff should have to pay all legal costs unless the ruling is in their favor. When it could cost you a few grand, or a few hundred grand in some cases, to make a complaint, you'll only take it to court if you're sure you've been wronged.

One of the things I like about British law...


By mark2ft on 4/5/2007 3:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, your suggestion is the current state of the law in the US, as far as I know. Lawyers usually demand money up front, and EVEN IF the ruling is in the plaintiff's favor, the plaintiff does NOT automatically get compensation for attorney fees. Someone I know tried to get an attorney, but the attorney requested $10,000 in cash, up front. So he just gave up. It all depends on the attorney though--some are nice enough to waive their attorney fees altogether. (Yes, for those who don't believe me, search for the Popov v. Hayashi case in google about the claim over a baseball. Hayashi's lawyer waived his fees.)


By mars777 on 4/5/2007 2:46:32 AM , Rating: 2
Much more eye candy effects than Aero can be seen with the hardware for Vista Home Basic if using linux and beryl :)


Bait and Switch?
By masher2 (blog) on 4/4/2007 4:28:56 PM , Rating: 3
You can only bait someone into buying your own product. The computers in question aren't even Microsoft products. Its not even misleading, as "Vista-compatible" machines are compatible with the OS itself, even if certain features are disabled.

This suit is nothing but (yet) another lawyer looking for some quick bucks from corporate deep pockets.




RE: Bait and Switch?
By Oregonian2 on 4/4/2007 5:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was going to say. Microsoft isn't selling anything in this scenario, so there's no Microsoft Bait or switched product. The only contortion that one might come up with is in fact the REVERSE of bait-and-switch. They'd be lured in by the high priced upper-end version of Vista product and get switched into purchasing the lower priced product (Vista basic). Kinda backwards, eh?


RE: Bait and Switch?
By dmcgraw on 4/4/2007 6:07:16 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft will, sadly, be immune to this. Consumers should be made aware and understand fully the term "caveat emptor." These computers in question are in fact Vista "capable", albeit weakly. If consumers are smart, look beyond the price of a computer ($400-$600) will be capable of running Vista (Basic), whereas $900+, the computer will state Vista Premium "Ready." See where I am getting at? Vista Capable and Vista Premium Ready are two totally different terms. But as such, we as consumers want more bang for the buck, without even taking a look farther than the price itself. In most cases, You Get What You Pay For.


RE: Bait and Switch?
By theapparition on 4/5/2007 7:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft will, sadly, be immune to this.


As well they should be. Why on earth would you think Microsoft was to blame when they didn't even deliver the end item to the consumer? They were not the one to claim a specific PC was ready or not.


Oh, come on
By UNHchabo on 4/4/2007 4:30:35 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft had a different logo program for machines capable of running Aero. "Windows Vista Premium Ready", I think it was. Even knowing nothing about the hardware, if you see the two words "ready" versus "capable", which do you think will do a better job?




RE: Oh, come on
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 5:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft had a different logo program for machines capable of running Aero. "Windows Vista Premium Ready", I think it was.

You're 100% correct. I saw advertisements all the time, from Dell no less that perfectly explained this. In truth, all this dipshit has to do is go out and spend 80 bucks on a video card, for christs sake a 7300LE will run Vista Aero! An AGP FX 5200 is approved for Vista Ultimate according to MSI and it can't be more than 40 bucks retail!


RE: Oh, come on
By PitViper007 on 4/5/2007 9:38:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
An AGP FX 5200 is approved for Vista Ultimate according to MSI


Quite correct. When I wanted to test Vista Beta, to include Aero, that was the card that I bought. It was the lowest end, cheapest card that would be capable of all the new features, and it worked well.

I don't necessarily agree with some others here that want to tighten up on the requirements for lawsuits however. I view this as kind of in the free speech realm. You have to be able to tolerate speech that you don't agree with, and even might be repugnant to you, as well as what you do agree with, or you don't have freedom of speech at all. I feel that the law system is the same way. You have to be able to tolerate stuff like this, even at the cost of being a drain on the system, or the system works for no one.

PitViper


Dead in the water.
By Steve Guilliot on 4/4/2007 4:38:39 PM , Rating: 4
It sounds as if their case boils down to "if it doesn't have Aero, then it's not Vista", which is false. Low-end, yes. Stripped-down, you can call it that. But it's still Vista.

These guys need to get a day job, and stop wasting the time of our publicly-funded judicial system.




RE: Dead in the water.
By rockyct on 4/4/2007 9:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, especially since Aero is a superficial feature. Sure it's nice to look at, but it can't have a quantifiable effect on "productivity."

Also, for the record, my Vista Capable laptop with 512 MB of RAM can run Vista with Aero. It's slow, but not unusable, especially when I plug in my 2 GB ready boost flash drive. Ultimately though, I did disable Aero until I get some more RAM.


My New Lawsuit
By BMFPitt on 4/4/2007 11:00:06 PM , Rating: 3
I think I'm going to look through my game collection and see what I can't run at the maxed out settings on the highest resolution with the minimum specs.

I smell cash.




RE: My New Lawsuit
By kingpotnoodle on 4/5/2007 8:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
Spot on :-)

This lawsuit is the most stupid I have seen for a while, and there are a lot of dumbass ones about. Microsoft publish the specs required to qualify for the mark, they state on their website/literature the limitations. PC makers slap on the stickers, quite legitimately as they meet the minimum requirements, the specs of machines are easily found before purchase... if someone buys a computer believing it does something it doesn't then it is either:

1. The retailers fault for misinforming the consumer, in which case sue the retailers.
2. The consumer's fault for not doing proper research about what they are buying - the information is publically available. If someone is not technical they should rely on their retailer who actually sells it to them to describe what they are buying, in which case see 1.


And another thing
By Cunthor666 on 4/4/2007 9:18:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To run Windows Vista, PCs require a minimum of 512MB of RAM, an 800MHz or faster processor and a DirectX 9-capable graphics car


How many brand new computers are actually *this* slow today?




RE: And another thing
By kmiller1700 on 4/5/2007 12:54:25 AM , Rating: 2
mine.....minus the RAM...


It's true
By mindless1 on 4/5/2007 11:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
Most of us knew about the differences but we are not Average Joe Consumer. Average Joe cannot be expected to know the differences unless they are stated as boldy as the features that AREN'T present or supported. I think a lawsuit is excessive but we can't see what Joe did, which stores displayed what, but then that may be a store fault not a Microsoft fault. That is, except the commercials, it's harder to subtractively remove the context of what we already knew when seeing the advertising that to try to put ourselves in the shoes of someone who didnt' know when subjected to advertising.




RE: It's true
By bldckstark on 4/5/2007 1:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
Every car commercial on TV shows a car that has optional equipment on it, then at the end they tell you a price for a stripped down version. This is exactly the same thing in my mind, and it has existed for as long as automobiles have been around. When an object has optional equipment/features you have to expect to pay more to get them.


Hhhmmm...
By SeanMI on 4/4/2007 4:27:52 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know which to hate more...Microsoft for doing this, or the lawyers that'll end up making the money off of this thing.




RE: Hhhmmm...
By deeznuts on 4/4/2007 6:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know which to hate more...Microsoft for doing this, or the lawyers that'll end up making the money off of this thing.
Don't hate MS they didn't do anything wrong, and the lawyers probably won't win jack. Vista capable doesn't say Vista Premium capable does it?

Does HDTV ready mean 720p 1080i and 1080p ready? Does an HDTV card/adapter have to to OTA and QAM? It's nonsense.


By mjcutri on 4/4/2007 4:48:53 PM , Rating: 3
it's lawsuits like this that remind me just how ridiculous our justice system has become. this case should be thrown out immediately. maybe i'll sue ford for selling V6 mustangs because they use V8 mustang GTs in all their advertising. microsoft clearly distinguished between the different levels of their labeling programs and of the different capabilities of the different versions of vista. i wish i could sue her for not reading about and understanding the product that she was buying and then suing to try to make money off her own stupidity.




What a load of crap
By encryptkeeper on 4/4/2007 5:55:34 PM , Rating: 3
To run Windows Vista, PCs require a minimum of 512MB of RAM, an 800MHz or faster processor and a DirectX 9-capable graphics card—but those requirements do not guarantee a computer of running the new operating system will run with all new features.

Idiot. Vista capable, means it'll crawl the OS. I'm no Microsoft fan by any means but this guy is really stretching things. Microsoft actually always claimed you'd need more than these specs to run Vista with all the features. The person he needs to sue is his local Best Buy or wherever he got the system for not properly training it's employees to the truths of computer needs.




Wow...
By twiztedxtreme on 4/4/2007 5:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
All I'm going to say about this is that Microsoft warned people about this. People just didn't look hard enough. If you did your research, then on the MS site, they compared versions of Vista. They showed that on the lower end versions, Aero would not be avaliable.

Now, as far as someone not being able to run it..MS also released something that would tell you whether or not your computer could or would be able to do so.




DX9 for Home Basic?
By Spyvie on 4/4/2007 5:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
Just a minor point, I don’t think you need DX9 to run Vista Basic. I successfully installed RC2 on a box with an ATI 9200 DX8 card in it.

No Aero, but it worked.




sillyness
By Oregonian2 on 4/4/2007 8:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
I just hope whomever filed the lawsuit is forced to pay for all costs associated with it, plus charged something extra for being a pain-ITB.

To make things more just, perhaps Microsoft should then be given the penalty money (and the payer be told this). Make the person who filed it even happier. :-)




Simple logic
By crystal clear on 4/5/2007 1:16:13 AM , Rating: 1
The ordinary mans logic & response is like this-

If you are not satisfied with a product-"THEN RETURN IT"

In this case- its NOT like a Travel Agent that sold you a VACATION PACKAGE that entitled you to X & Y & Z .
When reach the destination you were refused or NOT given what you were supposed to get.

This is a product(computer) that can be returned or exchanged for something else.




RE: Simple logic
By crystal clear on 4/5/2007 1:32:45 AM , Rating: 1
"When reach the destination "-should read as

"when YOU reach the destination"


This is ridiculous!
By cheetah2k on 4/5/2007 1:35:12 AM , Rating: 2
Why do this to Microsoft.. Why not sue the OEMs for their poor form in labeling "Vista Capable" products. A classic example of OEM poor form are the suppliers of Nvidia 8800GTX video cards and lack of driver support...

Speaking of which, are the drivers ready yet?




By ingram091 on 4/6/2007 5:21:50 AM , Rating: 2
If I may, I invite you to look at the ORIGINAL concept for the AeroGlass that MircoCrap STOLE!!! It works on windows XP, and Windows Vista with crippled Aeroglass, and guess what? It actually WORKS!!!

Topdesk1.4.2 (Shareware) (with trial demo to verify it works)
http://www.otakusoftware.com/topdesk/index.html
$14.95 to own.

Aeroglass is worthless, as you can see there is nothing to this program. Topdesk only uses a few Kb Memory and does it all on even legacy video cards. Even if AeroGlass is working I recommend the ORIGINAL program over Microsoft's crippleware code any day.

Ingram.




This is a landmark lawsuit
By sharkbate on 4/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: This is a landmark lawsuit
By UNHchabo on 4/4/2007 10:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
We need more individuals willing to represent classes of consumers victimized by such practices.

You mean like Jack Thompson?


By kmiller1700 on 4/5/2007 12:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
fail. epically.


Propery for sale......CHEAP!!!
By rastare1a on 4/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: Propery for sale......CHEAP!!!
By theapparition on 4/5/2007 7:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
Are you trying to say that the only way to get rid of OSX is to give it away free?


RE: Propery for sale......CHEAP!!!
By nekobawt on 4/5/2007 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I believe he was implying we're easily fooled.

quote:
beach front property available for sale in Nevada near the ocean

I'm not that interested in beachfront property, but I am in the market for a bridge in the San Francisco area. Do you think you can arrange something for me, rastare1a?


RE: Propery for sale......CHEAP!!!
By bkm32 on 4/6/2007 2:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
Or the law student is the only one who could figure out a way to sue him for misrepresentation.


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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