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Microsoft Tries To Prevent Further Discovery 178

Posted by kdawson
from the cying-a-river dept.
An anonymous reader notes the considerable irony in Microsoft asking for relief from further discovery in the Windows Vista Capable debacle. This is the lawsuit that was recently granted class-action status, and Microsoft wants the wheels of justice to stop while it appeals that designation. It's easy to see why Microsoft wants to prevent further digging around in their and their OEMs' email archives, with stories like this one from the NYTimes (registration may be required) revealing Redmond's highly embarrassing internal emails to a mass audience.
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Microsoft Tries To Prevent Further Discovery

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  • ahoj (Score:5, Funny)

    by eneville (745111) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:24PM (#22694608) Homepage
    chair throwing contest starting in 10...
  • It's only fair (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:26PM (#22694616) Journal
    After, all that discovery is only producing documents which will torpedo their appeal of class action status.

    Can't have that, can we?
    • After, all that discovery is only producing documents which will torpedo their appeal of class action status.

      Seal my thunder!

    • Re:It's only fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by value_added (719364) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:55PM (#22694780)
      If their emails are managed in the same manner as the White House emails, then maybe they have nothing to worry about.

      Seriously, though, this lawsuit is great stuff. On the one hand, you have a monopoly forced into a measure of transparency and accountability. Then you have that monopoly's shortcomings being made the subject of stories in The New York Times (this one in the Business Section, no less), to say nothing of similar stories in other papers elsewhere. The lawsuit itself may be about Vista, but the emails are about Microsoft. Whether you care about Vista or not, this is good for everyone.

      The lawsuit will most likely be decided using a "reasonableness" standard, and the outcome will probably be similarly reasonable, like coupons or some such nonsense. The more interesting question is whether Microsoft itself is Ready(TM) or Capable(TM) to address the more fundamental problems of Vista, and what Windows users forced into upgrades by a variety of means will have to contend with in the interim.
      • is that the email is stored on Vista machines and we all know how long it takes to process files on a Vista machine. They need to buy some time for all the disk processing to complete.

        In short, it would be faster to print all the emails and shred them.

      • Re:It's only fair (Score:4, Interesting)

        by gruntled (107194) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @09:17PM (#22696120)
        You know, I wasted quite a few years covering the Microsoft antitrust trial, and what killed these guys then was the internal email. I would have thought they'd developed policies designed to purge email more than, say, 90 days old, after that experience, but given the darwinian nature of life at Microsoft, where everybody is always attacking everybody else, I guess you have to document what you've been saying to people or you run the risk of being stuck with the blame when the tide turns. Ironic that MS is basically being beaten up by the very same "cover your butt" memos people write internally to protect themselves....
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mjwx (966435)
      Microsoft produces the documents and torpedos their class action status
      or
      Microsoft doesn't produce the documents (citing that the documents no longer exist) and torpedos any remaining myths about reliability in window server systems and Microsoft Exchange

      Brilliant, its a win-win situation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:28PM (#22694634)
    They obviously need to hire the White House email administrators.

    Problem solved.
  • by Enlightenment (1073994) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:34PM (#22694680)

    "Continued proceedings here would cost Microsoft a substantial sum of money for discovery and divert key personnel from full-time tasks," said Charles Wright, an attorney for Microsoft

    How is that not acceptable? If they labeled systems misleadingly then they should be paying to help clean up the mess they caused.

    • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:24PM (#22694912) Homepage Journal

      How is that not acceptable? If they labeled systems misleadingly then they should be paying to help clean up the mess they caused.

      You're operating under the assumption that the case against Microsoft is valid. Since the case has not yet been decided, the court cannot operate under that assumption. During discovery the court has to weigh the cost to Microsoft against the probability that information germane to the case at hand will be revealed. Civil litigation frequently involves analysis of this kind.

      If the court allowed every single discovery motion, cases would never be resolved and the cost of litigation would be higher than it already is. I'm not saying that this motion shouldn't be allowed, but the courts don't have the luxury of deciding the case first, then making discovery rulings on that basis.

      • True, but in this case the discovery has already revealed evidence that is quite damning, namely that Microsoft knew about Vista's many problems.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mstahl (701501)

          Your comment suggests that no additional discovery is yet necessary.

      • by mikelieman (35628) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:20PM (#22695354) Homepage
        If Microsoft's Email Server and Client lived up to their ADVERTISING, then recovering the relevant email evidence should be fairly straightforward and simple.

        But that's another lawsuit, isn't it?

        • by jimicus (737525)
          Seeing as the more recent versions claim that the sender retains a fair degree of control even after the email is sent, I'd say that if their email server and client lived up to their advertising then recovering relevant email evidence would actually be rather tricky.
      • When senior people at Microsoft say that they were suckered.

        At this stage of the case, the court needs to make the guess. Based on what's already been revealed it is hard to say that (a) there is no case -or- (b) there is no further information.

        Any judge who was to try whitewash this one would be comitting professional suicide.

      • You're forgetting the disturbing Western trend that the accused are guilty of crimes before a trial even happens.

        TV shows like Law and Order state in their introduction voice-over that the DAs "prosecute offenders" not suspects.

        Police on shows like Cops routinely justify their overzealous use of power with no regard for citizens' rights (including questioning without Mirandizing them).

        People should be ashamed that they've turned on each other and decided they can be judge and jury based on facts heard third and fourth party through the Internet.

        Let someone have their day in court then feel free to judge based on the facts.
        • by PReDiToR (687141)
          Oh. I posted another comment as AC further down (Baldrick) and my mods got wiped =(

          Apologies. I didn't mean to lose the mod, you deserve it. Could someone with points please give parent an insightful?

          I thought you could post as AC without that happening, maybe because I previewed without ticking the boxes.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:27PM (#22694934) Journal

      "Continued proceedings here would cost the company a substantial sum of money for discovery and divert key personnel from full-time tasks,"
      Funny, it is exactly the argument I use to tell my boss it is not in our company's interests to switch to Vista...
  • Eh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nizo (81281) * on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:38PM (#22694688) Homepage Journal
    Continued proceedings here would cost Microsoft a substantial sum of money for discovery and divert key personnel from full-time tasks," said Charles Wright, an attorney for Microsoft, in the motion to suspend the case. "[It] would intrude on sensitive pricing decisions and strategies by OEMs, wholesalers, and retailers;


    I.e. it would cut even further into Vista sales.


    and would jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill with class members.


    What does this mean in normal human language, rather than lawyerspeak???

  • Vista disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:39PM (#22694690)
    When I bought a laptop a few months ago, even the sales people were telling me how much Vista sucks (despite the fact that some of the stores didn't even sell XP laptops anymore so they were sure to lose a sale). When the people selling PCs are actively discouraging customers from buying newer systems with newer operating systems, Microsoft clearly have a problem... so I'm not surprised they want to hide their dirty laundry rather than have it exposed in the press.
    • Re:Vista disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:03PM (#22695244) Journal
      Microsoft clearly have a problem.

      Yeah the problem is that they listened to some asshat Marketing VP instead of their program managers

      The minimum hardware configuration was set so low that "even a piece of junk will qualify," Anantha Kancherla, a Microsoft program manager, said in an internal e-mail message among those recently unsealed, adding, "It will be a complete tragedy if we allowed it."

      She was exactly right, for MS this is a complete tragedy. Any bets on if they give her a big fat rise for trying to warn them? Any bets on if they fire the senior management that pushed for dropping the hardware requirements?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anzya (464805)
        It's just soooo embarassing to fire ones golf partner...

        This is what happens when your brain only can plan 3 months in advance to the next budget report. The future be damned, the stock holders want possitiv reports now. In six months we'll come up with a new scam to bolster the numbers. If the stock holders where happy the last time when we fired a 1000 then they will be twice as happy if we fire 2000...
  • Mwhahahaha (Score:5, Funny)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:49PM (#22694746)
    That's what you get for allowing multi gigabyte PST files.

    Oh, the sweet irony.
     
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:02PM (#22694818)
    The one thing Microsoft were always great at was marketing. Now, apart from the mess they've already got themselves into, they're still not seizing the great way out that's been presented to them. All they have to do is give away some vouchers that are only useful if you have Vista (that's basically how class action lawsuits end) and make a big splash out of how the only problems with Vista were the substandard hardware originally approved for it when in fact to get the power of Vista you need the latest kit. This is easy stuff. Anyone should see it. Why the hell would they think they're better of pretending that the crap performance people are seeing is Vista working properly? That isn't going to make them a penny.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Because big corporations have a vested interest in never admitting they're wrong until a jury of their peers says so, and even then they keep trying to spin it in their favor. The lengths they go to does get pretty insane sometimes.
    • The one thing Microsoft were always great at was marketing.

      What are you talking about? Zune, Basic, Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, Editions proves marketing genius. That marketing is what got them in this mess. I say again as I said it before, they should really fire their marketing department. Of course, I could be clearly mistaken!! By marketing, do you mean lying. Modern slang does befuddle me.

  • Bait and switch.
  • by gozu (541069) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:11PM (#22694868) Journal
    Ack, bugmenot is not working. Here is a link to the article that doesn't require registration.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/nytimes/080309/1194753587951.html?.v=4 [yahoo.com]
  • FTFA:

    "Microsoft's interest in avoiding unnecessary litigation costs, preserving the time of its employees, insulating OEMs, wholesalers, and retailers from discovery into confidential pricing policies, and maintaining its goodwill far outweighs the interest of class members in relief they never expected before filing this action," Microsoft said.
    Let's analyse this.

    On one hand, there's Microsoft keeping money saved on lawsuits and salaries, preventing anyone besides themselves (and probably few of themselves at that) from knowing just how much money they extract from you and trying to seem like a Good Corporate Citizen (TM).

    On the other hand, there's your interest in saving the money that Microsoft has only been able to demand because they've been able to keep their pricing scheme secret from you.

    Microsoft says that money in their pockets is more important than money in your pockets. Colour me unsurprised.
  • why stop now? (Score:3, Informative)

    by nguy (1207026) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:41PM (#22695062)
    It's just getting interesting.
  • Am I the only one... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by V!NCENT (1105021)

    ... who thought from the very beginning, having experience with minimum sys reqs and having the ability to see through marketing, that 'capable' meant: It can boot and nothing more?

    And BTW (this rule always aplies...): always get informed about a product first before you buy it. I can't say this enough times. There are always products that may have downsides/flaws.

    • by Shados (741919)
      Indeed... as someone who game on PC a lot, Im used to minimum requirements ("capable") meaning "the game won't crash when you start it up, and thats all you get". So thats what I expected there too, honestly.

      I guess the only thing is the marketing swing to it...it wasnt very obvious when you saw a "Capable" sticker that there even WAS a "Designed For" one, as opposed to a game box, where the "recommended" requirements are right next to the "minimum" requirements...
  • I Object... (Score:5, Funny)

    by tokki (604363) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:24PM (#22695394)
    On the grounds that it makes my client look bad!
    • by rwyoder (759998)
      Or closely related, this exchange from "Liar, Liar":

      Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
      Judge: Why?
      Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!
      Judge: Overruled.
      Fletcher: Good call!
  • by LDVA (847098) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @10:34PM (#22696616) Homepage
    MSFT lower pricing on Vista misses the point entirely, as the NYT article so eloquently points out. Vista causes too many bad experiences. Perhaps with SP1. I tried to use it on my work system so that I could show off our own Vista-ready capabilities (http://www.pcdoctor-community.com/pcdblog/2007/10/02/vista-begone-my-windows-xp-upgrade/). Terrible experience that resulted in my "upgrade" back to XP. Ask any of the big OEMs about how much Vista they are shipping into the enterprise. I have, and the answer is next to nothing. And I bet they are getting killed with support calls because of MSFT's misssteps.
  • The philosophical question of the day. What is Microsoft protecting more- it public "image" or it treasure trove of bullshit (that is so 80's- the new word is spin)? They may want to reuse some of this for Windows 7 as oppose to actually do some actual software engineering.
  • While it would be illegal to deliberately delete emails while under an investigation where those emails may be (and have been) subpoenaed, one must remember, MS may be hoping for the "WhiteHouse" defense: "Oh, you wanted emails from when? " I'm sorry our email retention policy deletes emails from our servers after 2 months. They are also purged from all backups in order to limit our exposure to indefinitely retained emails." Didn't the Bush White House use that excuse as a reason for not having any emai

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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