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A lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging it intentionally deceived by labeling underpowered PCs "Vista Capable" wins class action status

DailyTech reported earlier this month on a pending lawsuit, which sought class action against Microsoft for allegedly knowingly deceiving consumers by labeling underpowered computers "Vista Capable", when the computers could only run a bare bones version of Vista lacking many features.  The suit alleged that Microsoft's practice was designed to increase sales at the user's expense.

While the suit seemed somewhat tenuous due to the extensive easy to reach online documentation on system specifics needed and levels of capability, it was strengthened by leaked internal emails from Microsoft which painted a picture of many Microsoft employees and executives venting frustration about the program, which they believed was inaccurate

Several employees claimed to be personally affected by the claims, and said the management involved, "really botched this."  Wrote one Microsoft employee, Mike Nash, "I PERSONALLY got burnt ... Are we seeing this from a lot of customers? ... I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine."

A federal judge,
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, granted the suit class action status, but slightly narrowed its scope.  She ruled that a class action could proceed with the intent of determining whether Microsoft's stickers caused an artificial demand for PCs during the 2006 holiday shopping season, and inflated the prices of computers which couldn't be upgraded to Windows Vista, when it released in January 2007.

Ironically neither of the two people filing the original lawsuit had took part in Microsoft's upgrade program.  However, despite not purchasing Windows Vista, they argued that they were still hurt as they had to pay a higher price for their PCs while getting a computer that could only run a basic version of Windows Vista.

The Judge did say that if the pair added a named plaintiff who participated in the "Express Upgrade" program they could pursue the class action claims concerning the limited functionality as well.

One of Windows Vista's most touted features is the Aero interface.  However, it takes considerable overhead to run, and thus many of the machines labeled "Windows Vista," were unable to support it and could only run Windows Vista in a more graphically barren mode.

Microsoft did not comment on the suit, but may appeal the ruling.

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Are you friggin kidding me?!?
By Xodus Maximus on 2/25/2008 2:15:05 AM , Rating: 2
However, despite not purchasing Windows Vista, they argued that they were still hurt

How can a product that you don't own and might never own, hurt you? That judge must have seen another side of the universe I have yet to experience.

And saying Vista inflated PC prices is completely bogus, what is the baseline for comparison, PC prices fluctuate randomly based on many factors from individual component manufacturing to raw material supply, heck a butterfly beating its wings in Arizona affects DDR prices in Singapore.

Sorry if the following example offends, but its the only example that comes to mind right now that expresses my outrage at this claim:

"Mommy, that man raped me!", "How, Where, did he touch you?", "No, I've never seen him before, but the other kids made fun of him, so he must have raped me"

RE: Are you friggin kidding me?!?
By mondo1234 on 2/25/08, Rating: 0
By ShadowZERO on 2/25/2008 2:42:45 AM , Rating: 1
This is just a loophole people who don't understand the legal system are using to try and get free money. Notice how, in this statement, you can even see the judge trying to call "BS" on the whole claim.

"A federal judge, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, granted the suit class action status, but slightly narrowed its scope."

She obviously wasn't able to toss out the entire lawsuit, but at least she forced the accusers to come up with more evidence.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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