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Appeals court denies review of Microsoft's appeal against class action status

Microsoft’s short lived break from the “Vista Capable” lawsuit did not quite see the result the software giant was hoping for. After Microsoft’s appeal of a decision to allow the lawsuit to continue as class action, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Monday denied to hear it.

A statement issued to BetaNews by Microsoft legal spokesperson, Jack Evans, claimed, "The Ninth Circuit's decision not to accept our request for interim review is not a ruling on the merits of our case. We look forward to presenting all of the facts on what the district court itself said is a novel claim."

The suit was filed following and accusation against Microsoft for falsely displaying the “Vista Capable” sticker on Window’s machines that lacked in hardware support. The machines were able to run Windows Vista Home Basic, but failed to handle the other versions. This caused uproar especially with the crowd looking forward to the Vista Aero Glass feature.

It would seem this case is cut and dry with Microsoft misleading customers, but the argument prolonging the case consists of Microsoft’s use of two different stickers. Machines that could only run Home Basic were planted with the “Vista Capable” sticker, while machines that could run all versions were labeled “Vista Ready.”

With the case moving forward as class action and the continuation of discovery, Microsoft could see a rough path ahead if new information comes to light. Over the period of the suit, emails quoting Microsoft’s execs bashing the operating system on their low grade machines as well as the company lowering Vista’s graphics requirements so that Intel can make a few extra dollars on its motherboards has already made this case very intriguing. 

With the discovery of new information, Microsoft could take a lot larger hit than they first expected.   At this point, whether Microsoft wins or loses all the information released and to be released could really put a damper on software sales and future contracts.

The remainder of the case should be quite entertaining if we see what we have been seeing. No other information has been released as of yet.

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This is ridiculous
By FITCamaro on 4/24/2008 8:37:36 AM , Rating: 5
Buy a shitty laptop, get a shitty experience. Microsoft clearly listed the difference between Vista Capable and Vista Ready on its website before the OS was released. And hardware manufacturers produce the computers, not Microsoft.

This is just another example of cheap people complaining when their cheap crap doesn't work as expected. If someone was told that their $500 Vista Capable laptop would be able to run Vista Ultimate with all the bells and whistles, it wasn't Microsoft doing it. They shouldn't be liable for an overzealous salesman lying to a customer to get the sale.

RE: This is ridiculous
By WayneG on 4/24/2008 9:02:05 AM , Rating: 2
I agree 150million% I don't see where Microsoft is to blame for this, surely it would be thrown out of court immediately? What basis is there for the order? Microsoft clearly labelled a laptop as Vista ready and correct me if I'm wrong but Vista basic is a version of VISTA is it not..? I mean if someone sold me a laptop that was running Linux and it was clearly labelled with "this laptop has Vista on it" then I would be pissed off but there seems to be no valid grounds for a case. Next there'll be people sueing Phillips because their black speakers have a silver lining on them... *sigh*

RE: This is ridiculous
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 4/24/2008 9:58:59 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, really the whole case is based on if Vista Basic is really considered to be a version Vista. I think that Aero glass and flip 3d are neat, but it would not ruin your Vista experience if you couldn't run them.

Unless we are understanding the complaint wrong and these are people that bought a "Vista Capable" pc before Vista came out, then spent the money for Vista Ultimate (or Premium) and weren't able to install it. It would be hard to return your Vista CD to most stores.

RE: This is ridiculous
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 4/24/2008 9:59:00 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, really the whole case is based on if Vista Basic is really considered to be a version Vista. I think that Aero glass and flip 3d are neat, but it would not ruin your Vista experience if you couldn't run them.

Unless we are understanding the complaint wrong and these are people that bought a "Vista Capable" pc before Vista came out, then spent the money for Vista Ultimate (or Premium) and weren't able to install it. It would be hard to return your Vista CD to most stores.

RE: This is ridiculous
By darklight0tr on 4/24/2008 9:17:21 AM , Rating: 3
You get what you pay for. The amazing thing is people still expect to get premium quality for rock bottom prices. The truth is you don't, ever.

Microsoft is in no way to blame for this, and these frivolous lawsuits are getting old. The laptop does run a version of Vista, does it not? If my opinion that does make it Vista Capable.

I don't get why you got rated down for telling the truth.

RE: This is ridiculous
By krwhite on 4/25/2008 9:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well said. It seems the internet these days requires articles bashing Microsoft, no matter how weak the story is.

Oh my god. This laptop can only run Vista Basic, and it's labelled as Vista Capable.. Am I the only one seeing the non-issue? If Vista Basic isn't Vista, then what is it?

I actually have a mac here. I require it for development. I'm a balanced reader, and I just find the articles posted here almost everyday about Microsoft just plain stupid. Ok, I can't run an HP printer from 1996. IT IS SO NOTED.

Hello, bloggers, editors, it's getting old. Our IQ's can't take the baseless, yet popular attacks so you may gain money from google adsense.

RE: This is ridiculous
By martinrichards23 on 4/24/2008 9:59:00 AM , Rating: 2
They shouldn't be liable for an overzealous salesman lying to a customer to get the sale.

Surely the whole point is the salemen followed Microsofts advice, which would likely make MS liable. If that isn't the case, then obviously MS have done nothing wrong.

RE: This is ridiculous
By just4U on 4/27/2008 1:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't those people just take the computer back? I mean most stores have a return policy after all and if your disatisfied you should be able to just return it for something more along the lines of what you had expected to get.

RE: This is ridiculous
By EffKay on 4/24/2008 10:16:30 AM , Rating: 5
I tend to disagree with you.

Capable and Ready are synonyms and in all fairness Ready could be viewed as less Capable than Capable? See?
e.g. "I'm ready to run the marathon but I'm not sure I'm capable of finishing it."

What Microsoft was originally accused of may have been frivolous (using semantics, word play and and vague terminology as marketing tools to sell PCs to the proletariat) BUT what has emerged from digging deeper into the mess is WHY the courts have refused to dismiss the case.

In all things the MOTIVE is the key to guilt or wrongdoing.
In this case Microsoft was not motivated by the ideals of treating their own paying customers fairly by using clear stickers that read: "Vista Home Capable" and "Vista Premium Capable", instead they chose to use ambiguity in order to fleece people who don't know any better in order to further increase the already sky-high profits of their bed-fellow Intel.

This has allowed Intel to foster upon the PC world the travesties that only it can. The 945 chipset should have died with the P4 (it's THAT OLD) yet Intel would happily squeeze both Joe Public AND those who know better for as long as possible for this antiquated crap.

Don't blame the victims for being fleeced by two of the worlds biggest multinational corporations. They do it on purpose in order to maximise profits and THAT is what this court case has evolved into.

RE: This is ridiculous
By mattclary on 4/24/2008 10:35:10 AM , Rating: 2
Thank god. SOMEBODY around here seems to have a brain.

RE: This is ridiculous
By rdeegvainl on 4/24/2008 10:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think capable is actually the lesser of the two. To be ready to run the marathon, you have to be capable first. But if you haven't eaten your Wheaties and hydrated, your body is still capable, just not ready.
I think the difference here is that your using it as "mentally" ready, where as I am thinking about the physical capabilities of the body. I think they are similar, but they gave the information out as to the difference between the two stickers, the users just didn't find it.

RE: This is ridiculous
By mattclary on 4/24/2008 10:48:58 AM , Rating: 2

Both stickers, especially to the unwashed masses will read "Vista will run just fine on this machine"

RE: This is ridiculous
By Kenenniah on 4/24/2008 12:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft wasn't the only or the first to use capable and ready in this manner.

HD Capable television - Can display HD content but needs an external HD converter.
HD Ready television - Can display HD content and has an HD receiver built in.

Is that so much different? If the MS lawsuit is valid, why aren't TV manufacturers being sued for their labels? Your "unwashed masses" could easily have bought an HD capable TV without knowing the difference.

Besides, people need to take responsibility for themselves. If the "unwashed masses" aren't computer literate enough to know what they are getting, then they should do this thing called research. Look at reviews, talk to other people and so on. Most non techies would probably think an 8400GS video card is faster and better than a 7900GTX because of the higher number. Of course this is far from the case, but it's not Nvidia's fault if the user buys without doing any research.

Are the PC's in question in lawsuit capable of running Vista? Of course, so what's the problem. If a video card says it's Direct X 10 capable, does that it mean it should run all DX 10 games with all features enabled? Obviously not, try running Crysis with all features enabled on a DX 10 IGP. So why is Microsoft's Vista Capable held up to higher standards. It can run Vista, but just not all versions with all bells and whistles turned on.

RE: This is ridiculous
By murphyslabrat on 4/24/2008 1:08:57 PM , Rating: 3
Both stickers, especially to the unwashed masses will read "Vista will run just fine on this machine"

Choice of words is interesting, as the kind of people that would correctly interpret the stickers are, demographically speaking, far more likely to be unwashed.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Alpha4 on 4/29/2008 6:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
the kind of people that would correctly interpret the stickers are, demographically speaking, far more likely to be unwashed.

I love how nobody here expressed any offense with that statement.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Topweasel on 4/24/2008 11:56:47 AM , Rating: 2
But all of this implies that Vista Ultimate for example won't run on any of these machines. They may not run it well, but I currently have vista Home Premium on a machine that barely has 512 MB of memory and an integrated Intel video card. I don't get Aero but I still get Media center which is why I purchased it in the first place(Zune and X360 streaming).

While they might have a case that Microsoft didn't do a enough to say hey this machine won't run Aero, its not like what was listed wasn't true and doesn't apply to all of the versions of Vista.

My question is why are we allowing people to infer what something says. Microsoft listed machine as Vista Capable, any machine that has this sticker is capable to run all of these versions just certain features don't work. My Point is even if they knew people wouldn't understand what they are saying how much is the public allowed to infer to what success the machine is capable of. Its not like Microsoft didn't have the information available for everyone if they had questions.

RE: This is ridiculous
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2008 10:04:17 AM , Rating: 1
Your argument would hold weight if there had not been information released detailing exactly what these labels indicated. The information available on the web and in stores clearly said that Vista Capable machines were only certified to run Vista Basic. And that Vista Ready machines were certified to run all versions of Vista.

If you didn't read the damn information before making a purchase, thats your fault. There is no evidence out there that Microsoft told stores to lie to customers and say that Vista Capable machines were able to run any version.

You can argue that these people are "victims" all you want. They're not. They're idiots who either are unhappy with their purchase now that they don't have what they want or didn't read the damn information to begin with. I used to work at computer department, I can say that people often times didn't even ask what the capabilities of the machine were.

They just walked up, asked what the cheapest thing we had was, and said "Box it up". If you tried to tell them it was a piece of junk, they didn't care. "Oh its just for web browsing" or "Oh its just a throw away anyway." Then they'd be back a few weeks later bitching it broke or didn't work like they wanted because it had no RAM or the integrated video wasn't fast enough to run their kids games.

RE: This is ridiculous
By kiloguy on 4/27/2008 2:39:55 AM , Rating: 2
to effkey:
I know it is, like 3 days old, but i just had to look-up my old login and password to this forum so i can tell you that, as some others have already stated in this thread, It is refreshing to read a post such as your's. (Real logic, honest opinion, no slander.)

RE: This is ridiculous
By mattclary on 4/24/2008 10:42:13 AM , Rating: 5
Why did the stickers exist at all? To make sure people would still buy outdated hardware. MS (and all their fellow colluders in the industry) were afraid people would stop buying computers until Vista was released.

Technically, an old Pentium III machine is "capable" of running Vista, but it will just run it in a manner that most sane people would not accept.

This is a case of a marketing decision blatantly designed to mislead the customer. If you can't see that, I suggest you get a job in marketing, as your soul is probably already MIA.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Topweasel on 4/24/2008 12:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
See but who chooses what "sane people" would except. If you want to question the System Requirements of Vista go right ahead, but once you settle on that the fact is that the stickers correctly define these machines as being able to run windows vista (which to me means the computer can boot up with this hardware and can do normal job functions). Who are you to say how slow is to slow for windows, who are you to say what fps is to low for playing Crysis.

RE: This is ridiculous
By mattclary on 4/24/2008 1:08:22 PM , Rating: 3
As I told the previous poster, you should go into marketing if you see nothing wrong with this. Or become an attorney.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Screwballl on 4/24/2008 2:10:18 PM , Rating: 2
FIT... once again you amaze me with your "god" complex... The average consumer does not read websites or labels about a product. They can't tell the difference between an 6000+ and a E6300, they don't know to read about the recommended versus minimum specs for software. They buy it based on the flashy sticker that says Vista Compatible, so if they see the computer can run Vista then they expect it can run Vista well, run it fast and with all features intact... not some watered down sub standard version of Vista. This is where the lawsuit comes into play and I am saddened by all the support others have stated for your comments. Your comments support Microsoft and its greed that has caused millions to rethink buying Microsoft products, Microsoft is out to screw the consumer and this is exactly what they did.

I hope that someday you learn some humility and that just because YOU know something, millions of others do not. The average consumer sees flashy signs and lights and are persuaded by the impression and eye catchers, not the technical difference between a P965 chipset and a G915 chipset.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Reclaimer77 on 4/24/2008 2:29:47 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is not the devil.

However the whole " Vista Capable " problem exists because they made too much of a gray area. Microsoft, of all people, should understand the HUGE majority of their customer base are not super technophille geeks. They didn't know Vista was a POS system hog of an OS. And why should they assume they bought something that can't run the full version of Vista ?

Using poor lose wording to entice sales is nothing new. But sometimes you get called on it, and thats what has happened here.

MS isn't satan. They aren't out to "screw everyone " or any such dribble. They just made a mistake. People were mislead, plain and simple.

RE: This is ridiculous
By odessit740 on 4/24/2008 3:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
And it is for that reason, because Microsoft made a mistake, that they should be held accountable for it. It is about accountability and Microsoft needs to be accountable for their products. Microsoft didn't come out with 5 different stickers, they came out with 1. Therefore, it would be assumed that Vista would work for any laptop that had that sticker if that sticker was on it. They should've come out with a sticker which stated which version(s) each laptop would be compatible with, they didn't, they made a mistake, and intentional or not, they need to be held responsible. (All of this is IF they are found guilty, thats what the courts are for.)

RE: This is ridiculous
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2008 10:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
You don't even know what you're talking about. They had 2, count them 1.... 2 , stickers that indicated what the system was capable of. Please go back to school and learn to read.

RE: This is ridiculous
By just4U on 4/27/2008 1:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
What troubles me about all of this is that with the launch of Vista we saw a bunch of testing software to .. Is your system able to run vista? You even have a feature built right into the OS that gives you a indication of what your Vista experience will be like... so sticker or no sticker you should have some idea how well a given machine is going to perform with it.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Kenenniah on 4/24/2008 3:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote>The average consumer does not read websites or labels about a product.
That might be true, but it's also their own fault. It has nothing do do with a "god" complex or being elitist. How much computer knowledge you have doesn't matter. You don't have to have be knowledgeable on the subject to look at reviews or ask people that know. It's time to stop catering to and feeling bad for people that are too lazy or stupid to learn more about something before making a purchase, regardless of whether it's computers or not. I know next to nothing about cars, so before I purchased my last vehicle I looked at web reviews, consumer reports, and talked to friends. I'm sorry, but people that don't deserve what they get.

Unfortunately you are correct. Flashy signs and lights do persuade the masses, but why should we cater to that? It is NOT a good thing. It's something we seriously need to change. Just look at political ads and voters. It annoys the crap out of me that politicians are elected basically because of "flashy signs and lights" and rarely because of actual policies and values.

As I mentioned in a previous post, should all video cards marketed as Direct X 10 capable be able to play all DX 10 games like Crysis with all features turned on? Should people that invest in the stock market without any research be entitled to a refund when they lose everything?

Maybe it is a little elitest, but I expect people to have some level of intelligence and some ability to take responsibility for themselves. If the masses are mindless drones drawn to pretty lights it's their own fault, and I will not accept that the idea that they don't have a choice. Being conscientous about purchases does not require a degree in quantam physics. It's not about how book smart someone is, but mostly about laziness. They want a quick fix with no work on their own part, they want everything spoonfed and handed to them. Call me crazy, but I think the world would be a better place if we stopped condoning this and started making people responsible for their own choices.

RE: This is ridiculous
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2008 11:17:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad someone else feels that stupidity and laziness need to stop being rewarded.

RE: This is ridiculous
By exanimas on 4/24/2008 3:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
That's the same as saying that the average person isn't familiarized with every single law, so why should you be held accountable when you break it? The consumer made a dumb purchase because they didn't research the product before they bought it. Microsoft had the resources out there to inform customers, they just didn't look for it. Next time you get pulled over try telling the cop that you didn't know what you did was illegal and see how they respond to that.

Ignorance is no excuse.

RE: This is ridiculous
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2008 10:13:58 AM , Rating: 1
They buy it based on the flashy sticker that says Vista Compatible, so if they see the computer can run Vista then they expect it can run Vista well, run it fast and with all features intact... not some watered down sub standard version of Vista.

Yes and that is the problem with the American consumer. They don't know anything about anything. They think that they should be able to buy something for a rock bottom price that performs/is as good as a product at a higher price. They don't want to accept that the piece of shit they bought from Walmart for $500 isn't going to be as good as the $1000 computer bought elsewhere.


I do not have a god complex. I have the opinion that people are responsible for their own actions and decisions. If you choose to be ignorant, you should have to face the consequences. You shouldn't be able to sue because you made a bad decision and they didn't stop you. If you choose not to educate yourself about a product, that's no ones fault but your own. I've bought shitty products before. Did I sue over it? No. I learned from the mistake.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Screwballl on 4/30/2008 2:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it the "American" consumer? Again you show your contempt for what you do not know.
People want the best deal and expect proper inclusion of options such as the capability to run the full suite of Vista options on a machine that says Vista Ready or Vista Capable. There was no asterisk that stated "Vista Capable*"
"*not all features of Vista business or Premium version will run on this machine due to lower system specifications"
Do you buy a wireless router that says "802.11g capable" to find out it only has the "b" spec abilities and to get the "g" specs you have to buy an upgraded model? It says on the box.
In both cases (the router and Vista), it is false advertising. In both cases it is best for them to get sued.

You DO have the "god" complex, every word of your posts drip with disdain and elitism again anyone who disagrees with your opinion or "perceived" facts.

I agree, people should be responsible for their actions and decisions. When that action or decision is the fault of another company, the person is not at fault. The company, not the person should be subject to the consequences.
There is a difference between false advertising and lack of education. You expect these high school kids or retirees working at the bigbox retailers can tell the difference? No, they tell the customer that it means it can run Vista. The sticker itself says it can run Vista. As i said previously, it does not say "Vista Capable*" with an "exclusion of what it can run". This is the fault of Microsoft and Microsoft alone for allowing this to happen.

RE: This is ridiculous
By Kenenniah on 4/30/2008 4:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
You expect these high school kids or retirees working at the bigbox retailers can tell the difference?

Quite frankly, yes they should be able to. The fact that they aren't knowledgable about the products they are selling is a sad commentary on how things have become. Of course this is mostly due to the stores not adequately training employees, but it's also partially due to non savy consumers. Even with horrible customer service records, consumers still flock to these stores and purchase items in volume. Therefore why would the stores bother to spend the time and money to train employess well? We can't place all the blame on companies because our society in general wants things cheap and fast, and something has to be given up to acheive that.

On the Microsoft sticker front though, yes MS could have done a better job of differentiating the stickers. I just don't think the blame lies fully on them. The stores should have trained their employees to know the difference and the PC manufacturers are the ones that list the PC specs. Why aren't they liable?

For your router analagy, how many router boxes say that you may not connect at full 802.11g speeds? Or how many boxes explain that connection speed is different than thoroughput speed (which is something most people have no clue about)? I've seen quite a few routers no matter what the conditions are never come close to their rated speed. Or how about Watt ratings for amplifiers? Many consumers don't know the difference between peak and RMS, but do you see that explained on the advertisments? They only see this $100 amp says 100 watts while a $500 amp says 100 watts also. One is peak and one is RMS, but they don't know the difference.

Bottom line is I'm not saying any of this is right. I do think companies should be more forthright with their advertising and labelling, and in a perfect world this would be the case. Since the world isn't perfect though, consumers need to take some responsibility and get to know what they are buying. While it shouldn't be the case, I never take a salesman's or company ad's word without checking on my own.

The only reason that this case is being made such a big deal of, is that it is many people's favorite villian Microsoft.

RE: This is ridiculous
By DeathSniper on 5/1/2008 11:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
Ignorance is not an excuse.

Missing an important word
By noirsoft on 4/24/2008 3:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
The stickers were not just "Vista Capable" or "Vista Ready" -- The second sticker was actually "Vista Premium Ready"

That is a huge difference, and makes it clear that those wanting to run Home Premium or above need a "Vista Premium Ready" machine.

Sorry for the abuse of bold, but it is an important word that people are overlooking.

RE: Missing an important word
By odessit740 on 4/24/2008 3:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
I sold computers at the time Vista was released, most "Vista Premium Ready" computers didn't have that sticker for months, only later did they get it, so every laptop/desktop had a "capable" sticker if they were the first to include Vista, basically those computers which were released in February.

Microsoft had BIG signs all around Best Buy talking about Vista, but forgot to create anything which showed the specs for each version... *ahem* accidentally? I call bullshit. It just wasn't in their corporate 'interests' and now they have a lawsuit on their hands. Shouldn't have caused the wide deception/misconception, wouldn't be in this mess.

RE: Missing an important word
By FITCamaro on 4/25/2008 10:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct that the "Vista Premium Ready" sticker came later. But the "Vista Capable" and "Vista Ready" stickers were there from the start. Now your store might have only had "Vista Capable" machines. But the two designations did exist.

Alternative stickers
By mattclary on 4/24/2008 4:51:35 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe these would have been better. ;)

RE: Alternative stickers
By kiloguy on 4/27/2008 2:58:41 AM , Rating: 2
to mattclary:
Good one! And i know each of those stickers have much greater fidelity than M$'s.

What are these people looking for?
By just4U on 4/27/2008 1:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
So, this lawsuit. What are the people looking to get out of it from a monetary point of view. Per person I mean.

I tend to base my opinions about a lawsuit like this on how much they are asking for. So lets say ... they just want oh I don't know 100-$1000 each for all the hassle they went thru then ok...

However if their asking for $25000+ per person then I just roll my eyes and go yeah .. another group just looking to cash in.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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