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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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RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By Pirks on 2/25/2008 2:24:28 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By legendn3verdie on 2/25/2008 2:27:18 AM , Rating: 3
another version of windows already. I'm going to avoid this plague of software and back track to windows 98 at least.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By rcc on 2/25/2008 12:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
go back to DOS 4.01 at least. You'll be mostly alone, but you won't have any new virus issues.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By mondo1234 on 2/25/2008 2:38:20 AM , Rating: 4
Windows 7 with a three year time frame!! Thats gonna beat the next service pack for Vista out the door.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By BansheeX on 2/25/2008 3:03:22 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. WTH is the point of a completely new version of Windows or Office in such a short time frame. Oh, that's right... $$. I wonder if they'll make DX11 exclusive to it and drive even more people to consoles in disgust.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By mindless1 on 2/25/2008 11:33:14 AM , Rating: 3
Keep in mind that there are separate development teams and Vista was actually delayed by quite a bit, if it had arrived on the preliminary schedule that wouldn't make it seem to have such a short newest-version lifespan.

Also keep in mind that nobody is compelling you to upgrade. They could literally release a new version of windows every 12 months and you don't have to switch!

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By JimmyC on 2/25/2008 8:17:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and they could call it Vista Leopard.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By Leirith on 2/25/2008 8:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
Until one day when the new Xbox requires an installation of the new Windows to play games.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By oab on 2/25/2008 3:22:20 AM , Rating: 3
Why bother with a 32 bit version? Just discontinue 32bit OS's at Vista. It's 3 years away, will you even be able to have "only" 4gb of ram in a computer in 3 years?

Just dump 32-bit already. It's like running windows 98 on a system that came with 3.1. You COULD, if you really, really wanted, but you were a blithering idiot to do so.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By FITCamaro on 2/25/2008 10:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
Vista will be the last 32-bit Microsoft OS. At least thats what they have said. And thank god for that. Time to let progress go forward.

I work in engineering and understand that some older things simply won't work in Vista and can't be upgraded to do it. But thats what XP is for. It will remain a competent OS for years to come. And I'm sure the next Windows, if built natively for 64-bit, will have 32-bit emulation.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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