Class Action Suit Airs Intel and Microsoft's Vista Dirty Laundry
February 29, 2008 1:07 PM
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The little sticker that is causing a world of trouble for Microsoft and Intel.
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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Open GL & 6200 architecture ONLY=ULTIMATE
3/1/2008 8:32:26 AM
Beta tested Ultimate & found only one mainboard worked Vista Ultimate, it was 2001 Open GL Asus. All my others simply cut back to NT5, which worked as well as XP, yet NEVER could run NT6.Asus model I mentioned ran NT6 like champ, in June 2006 Vista Ultimate Beta was same as todays' with Ultimate 690/790/X48 leading edge mainboard.
So theres problem, Most people knew it was likely they wouldn't get NT6, yet Microsoft could tell you in advance if your mainboard would, microsoft just wouldn't tell you exact model numbers that worked perfectly, just ones that would work, almost all cutting back to NT5. Something of dissappointmnet for public, yet, it was all disclosed before Vista Ultimate went retail. Its taken over year to get to just few dozen capable mainboards(by reengineering to older 2001 standards), & thats all. Everything else is still going to cut Ultimate back, yet it does work mightie nice, just not as full featured.
PUBLIC, IN OEM BUILDERS SECTION CONFUSED PEOPLE WITH SO MANY "CAPABLE" LEVELS.buyers NOT REALIZING THEY WHERE GETTING RUBE, VISTA NAME WITH XP GUTS in almost all cases, IF MAINBOARD WASN'T ONE OF VERY FEW Ultimate was intitially based upon. It'd take days of research & good understanding of terms to figure out mess. Yet it was accurately reported upon & microsoft knew entire gizmo long before Vista Beta came out. SOFTWARE FIRST, HARDWARE NEXT. Thats todays need:HARDWARE FOR VISTA ULTIMATE.
Its meant return to 6200 card archetecture, then fell back to 6150, fell back again to 6100SE, final starting point for NT6 built in graphics W/ Vista Ultimate by March '7 was ready for public. With ONE Asus micro atx mainboard retailed in March, 2007. ALL OTHERS FAIL.
well, deception? it had to be based on something long predating Ultimates release to pubic in 2007,actually you needed mainboard from 2001 office machine which had no use for Open GL, yet it was included.(Vista software writing starting when XP went retail in 2001) So it seems to meself, that Vista Ultimate started in garage like secrecy, & any further divergence from that one starting point in latter mainboards was Non Ultimate NT6 & just didn't fit ULTIMATES stomach.Wise OWL Knew Better, Yet FEW had such sharp eyes.
Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.
RE: Open GL & 6200 architecture ONLY=ULTIMATE
3/1/2008 5:44:38 PM
Please put down the crack pipe and step away from the keyboard, sir.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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