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April 3, 2007

Microsoft sued over “Vista Capable” marketing

Posted by David Hunter at 9:02 AM ET.

A year ago I observed that Microsoft’s “Vista Capable” logo program for PC’s could be a problem for unwary consumers, but now it has turned into a legal problem for Microsoft as Todd Bishop reports at the Seattle PI:

A lawsuit alleges that Microsoft Corp. engaged in deceptive practices by letting PC makers promote computers as “Windows Vista Capable” even if they couldn’t run the new operating system’s “signature” features.

The proposed class action, which Microsoft disputes, was filed on behalf of personal-computer buyer Dianne Kelley of Camano Island. It focuses on efforts by Microsoft and computer makers to avoid a lull in PC sales by assuring consumers that the machines they were buying last year could run the delayed operating system upon its January release.

Machines carrying “Windows Vista Capable” stickers included those that only met the requirements for Windows Vista Home Basic — which lacks the “Aero” on-screen appearance, Media Center PC interface, Flip 3D window-switching and other features available in advanced Windows Vista versions.

“All the ‘wow’ stuff that Microsoft is selling and marketing is present in (Windows Vista Home) Premium, but it’s not present in Basic,” said Michael Rosenberger, one of the lawyers representing Kelley in the case.

Microsoft said Monday that the suit wrongly overlooks its efforts to make clear the differences between the different versions.

At the time I was also worried about whether the required Vista device drivers would ever show up for “Vista Capable” machines, but presumably that’s not actionable or too hard to explain to a jury. Anyhow, it should prove amusing to hear the contending attorneys parse the meaning of “Vista Capable.” Bishop has more details and a link to a copy of the complaint at his blog.

Filed under General Business, Legal, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Windows Vista

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One Response to “Microsoft sued over “Vista Capable” marketing”

  1. Vista Capable stickers even bit Microsoft employees | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft was sued last April over its ill-conceived Windows Vista Capable program and now the fruits of legal discovery are coming out with likely more amusing revelations than Microsoft would like: Quoting extensively from internal Microsoft Corp. e-mails, plaintiffs’ lawyers argued Friday that the company knowingly misled consumers by allowing PC makers to emblazon “Windows Vista Capable” stickers on PCs that could run only the most bare-bones version of the operating system.… [...]

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