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The little sticker that is causing a world of trouble for Microsoft and Intel.  (Source: DailyTech)
Microsoft executive -- "We set ourselves up"

One of the most iconic images of Microsoft's Windows Vista launch in January 2007 was the small "Windows Vista Capable" stickers on computers months before, reassuring customers that when the new operating system came out, their computers could be updated to the latest and greatest.  Unfortunately for the consumer it appears that the capabilities that these stickers promised were intentionally exaggerated to benefit Microsoft and chipmaker Intel.

A class action suit filed against Microsoft in April 2007 accused Microsoft of intentionally misleading consumers with the stickers, claiming the "Vista Capable" logos on computers that were anything but.  The suit centered around several key points, among which was that the computers sold could not run Windows Vista's more impressive features such as the Aero user interface, and were left with only a bare-bones skeleton of Vista.  The suit forced Microsoft to redefine its definition of what exactly "Vista Capable" meant, which included Microsoft's addition of a disclaimer that some of the PCs bearing the sticker could not run significant Vista features such as Aero.

Meanwhile, the legal case proceeded forward.  Armed with internal emails obtained from Microsoft, the plaintiffs, represented by high-power attorney Jeffrey Tilden of Gordon Tilden Thomas & Cordell, took their case before a U.S. District Judge in order to gain class action status.  In a significant victory for the plaintiffs U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman granted the case class action status, with the primary focus being to determine whether Microsoft intentionally deceived consumers to sell PCs.  The judge also opened the door for the suit to also encompass gripes about the lack of Aero if the plaintiffs found another named plaintiff who bough Vista but was unable to run Aero.

Now in the aftermath of the ruling, the Judge Pechman unsealed 158 pages of Microsoft corporate emails (PDF) that paint a picture Microsoft would rather not have the public see.

Some of these emails featured Microsoft employees candidly describing the program with, "
Even a piece of junk will qualify" for "Vista Capable" designation.  The now famous email from Mike Nash, currently a corporate vice president for Windows product management, states, "I PERSONALLY got burnt ... Are we seeing this from a lot of customers? ... I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine." 

Less dramatic, but equally damaging was the email from
Jim Allchin, then the co-president of Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division, stating grimly, "We really botched this ... You guys have to do a better job with our customers."

The most interesting emails though, turn out to be the new ones.  While a number of key portions of several emails were redacted, the parts that remain paint a picture of intentional deception that Microsoft virtually admitted to in the internal emails.

In the emails Microsoft executives discuss how the Intel 915 Chipset was to initially be deemed incompatible Windows Vista.   The policy was abruptly reversed.  Says one of the executives in charge of the decision, "
In the end, we lowered the requirements to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with the 915 graphics embedded.  We are caving to Intel. We worked the last 18 months to drive the [user interface] experience and we are giving this up."

This admission is extremely significant as it precisely describes what was alleged by the class action suit.  Microsoft will have to fight an uphill battle to prove that its employees' email correspondence was inaccurate and misleading.

Other emails make it clear that retailers had voiced frustrations with Microsoft, and were met with stubborn resistance from Microsoft executives due to the policy, which aimed to underhandedly pump up Intel's chipset sales.  Says one Microsoft executive, guiltily, "
I was in Best Buy listening to people and can tell you this did not come clear to customers. We set ourselves up."

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Dell Inspiron 1501
By falacy on 2/29/2008 6:03:47 PM , Rating: 3
I picked up two 1501s last summer when Dell had their insane $449 deal for the Sempron/1GB/80GB model special with Vista Home Basic. All I can say is that it's obvious these computers were designed for Windows XP, not Windows Vista. They really shouldn't have been sold with Vista, as the difference in responsiveness is clear.

With a dual-boot Vista and XP:
- Vista takes 14 seconds longer to boot up and 10-30 seconds longer to shutdown (shutdown is odd/random in Vista).
- Vista gives random video errors, where the screen goes to green blocks, but XP (nor Kubuntu) hasn't done that once.
- Open Office takes for-ev-er to open in Vista, but a respectable amount of time in XP.
- Microsoft Works crashes in Vista with errors I cannot recall, but it seems to work fine in XP.
- Moving windows around the screen is choppy in Vista, but smooth in XP (even with 3rd party XP themes enabled).
- World of Warcraft is playable in XP (28-44 FPS), but even with the most up to date drivers WoW sits at 4-10 FPS.
- Power management does not seem to work consistantly in Vista (screen dimming, sometimes does not use the battery settings).
- Vista often crashes when resuming from standby and XP has yet to do so once (Kubuntu isn't any better than Vista in this regard...).

I understand the desire to get everyone into the "latest and greatest" thing, but the truth is that some hardware is just designed and optimized for Windows XP. There's nothing wrong with that, just a fact of life. XP designed hardware should have gotten Windows XP first and Vista a cautioned option, not the other way around. This would have been realistic and people would have accepted it too; People wouldn't expect a 386 to run Windows XP very well, so using Windows 95 would be a better over all experience. Same difference with Vista and XP on the Dell Inspiron 1501 in my experience.

I'd consider using Vista on my Core2 desktop, but as for my laptop that came with Vista: It's just not meant for Vista and I'll stick with XP, as it does work as one would expect. Given how much was taken out of Vista to create Vista Home Basic, I am suprised that it is so noticably "heavier" than XP.

RE: Dell Inspiron 1501
By murphyslabrat on 3/2/2008 10:43:18 PM , Rating: 2
I picked up two 1501s last summer when Dell had their insane $449 deal for the Sempron/1GB/80GB model special with Vista Home Basic.

Same thing, different name. $399 for the Vostro 1000, and it has been "on sale" every time I have checked.

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