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A Windows Vista Capable logo in the wild
Lawsuit may have forced Microsoft to change what it means to be Vista Capable

Two weeks ago, Dianne Kelley started a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft alleging the software company is engaging in deceptive practices by branding new computers with a Windows Vista Capable logo even if they couldn't run the all the new operating system’s features.

Although Microsoft strongly refutes Kelley’s claims, the threat of a lawsuit may have triggered the company to change its language on what “Vista Capable” means. As clipped by a blog at the Seattle Times, Microsoft originally described its Windows Vista Capable program as the following (all bold emphasis added by Seattle Times author):

“Through the Windows Vista Capable program, Windows XP-based PCs that are powerful enough to run Windows Vista are now available from leading PC manufacturers worldwide, including Acer Inc., Dell Inc., Fujitsu Limited, Gateway Inc., HP, Lenovo, NEC Corp., Sony Corp., Toshiba and more. The Windows Vista Capable logo is designed to assure customers that the PCs they buy today will be ready for an upgrade to Windows Vista and can run the core experiences of Windows Vista.

Shortly following the news of the lawsuit, the explanation of the Windows Vista Capable program appeared to have changed to this:

“A new PC running Windows XP that carries the Windows Vista Capable PC logo can run Windows Vista. All editions of Windows Vista will deliver core experiences such as innovations in organizing and finding information, security, and reliability. All Windows Vista Capable PCs will run these core experiences at a minimum. Some features available in the premium editions of Windows Vista — like the new Windows Aero user experience — may require advanced or additional hardware.”

While both the original and updated descriptions mention that Vista Capable means being able to run the “core experience,” the updated passage clearly states those experiences will run at a minimum.



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RE: Lawyer speak
By peternelson on 4/10/2007 9:49:42 AM , Rating: 3
Labels aside, the average PC buyer won't know what to ask for. They won't know there are at least two label programs, not to mention the one for software.

We anandtech/dailytech readers know what Aero actually is, but many less knowing will equate vista with aero.

They will ask "can it run vista?"

Or "Does it come with Vista?"

The salesperson will rapidly say "of course it can/does/will" to get the sale.

Strictly speaking he answered their question, but he didn't educate them on how well it would run vista or the known limitations.

Further, many sales people won't even know/appreciate the difference themselves!

So it's not just a Microsoft problem, they have to educate their channels to market and customers. There is POS literature describing the different versions of Vista but AFAIK it doesn't mention the different hardware labels that get stuck on PCs thus consumers remain ignorant. All they know to look for is the magic word "Vista" and assume.

There might be valid legal claims against retailers who "misled" customers as to the capabilities of the hardware, knowingly or unknowingly.


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