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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 joemoedee on 2/25/2008 9:31:19 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft gets sued for the most idiotic things. I remember when they were getting sued for including their web browser in their own operating system.

It wasn't that the web browser was included, it was due to it being a fully integrated part of the OS that due to its integrated status made it very difficult for others to compete. It's a bit different than this particular lawsuit. (see )

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By Oregonian2 on 2/25/2008 3:13:42 PM , Rating: 2
Still don't see what the integration bought them. Firefox is much better than IE. Has Mozilla used information that the EU squeezed out of MS?

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By joemoedee on 2/26/2008 8:27:29 AM , Rating: 2
Still don't see what the integration bought them. Firefox is much better than IE.

Netscape and the such failed, I think partly due to the lack of broadband connectivity back in the day. If I want to try a browser now, the download isn't of a concern. At 28.8k, you really needed to want a program to download it. :) Why bother downloading something you already had? (In the minds of the typical IE user) Thus, many got on board with IE when it became an integral part of the Windows OS.

Last numbers (According to had IE at 81.14%, Firefox/Mozilla at 13.81%. Still a pretty commanding lead. (And basically an opposite mirror of Netscape vs IE back in the day)

Has Mozilla used information that the EU squeezed out of MS?

Good question. I doubt it. Mozilla's driving force is twofold. The anti-MS sentiment, as well as the constant security attacks on IE, drive Firefox.

RE: Another pointless lawsuit
By Oregonian2 on 2/26/2008 1:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
But you see, that's the point. IE is successful, AFAIK, *NOT* because it is "integral" to the OS and wired-in using undocumented methods. It's successful simply because it comes included with Windows. But the bashing all revolved around the integral-ness, not the being-included-ness. Which makes me repeat my comments above as to why IE is so much better than Firefox due to it's being "integral" -- because I don't see it.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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