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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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  • by speedlaw (878924) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:30PM (#22694650) Homepage
    A family member needed a new laptop. Dell (business side) with XP filled the bill. Since I could not get them to go 0$X, this was the next best thing. The bonus is that a dual core machine with a GB of memory will fly on XP. My tech support will be less. I had Windows Me once, so I see where this is going. As my MS machines die, Apple will get more sales.
  • 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.

  • good point (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2008 @05:39PM (#22694696)
    "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.

    Yeah, M$ has a lot more to lose, compared to the average schmuck who's either unaware of or accustomed and resigned to getting f*cked over by M$.
  • 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.
  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:00PM (#22694808)
    ... and would jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill with class members.

    If Microsoft had any goodwill with the class members, why would said members be suing Microsoft? That statement doesn't make any sense on the face of it.
  • 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:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medge_42 (173874) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:02PM (#22694820) Homepage
    You said it yourself, you are an IT professional.

    <analogy>
    If you bought a DVD player that, according to the label, would play anything and then it refused to play a DVD someone lent you would you be upset?

    Probably.

    The DVD you've put in contains half a dozen Divx files. Still upset?

    Probably not, but most of my social group still do not understand why that would be.
    </analogy>

    I think John Q. Public isn't going to realise that undergoing a research project, prior to buying what is rapidly become just another consumer electronics device, is required. They will want what it says on the box.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:06PM (#22694836)
    While I agree with you from my own perspective as a software engineer that has to make similar recommendations, you also have to look at this from how a typical not-particularly-computer-literate customer would see it. They go to a store to buy a laptop with the latest Microsoft OS on it, and they have certain expectations ... that it will work at least as well as the last version of Windows they had, for one. Given what's been coming out of Microsoft in discovery so far, it seems to me that Microsoft knew they had a dog on their hands, and sold it anyway. They took a chance that nobody would call them on it and lost.

    So far as sales go, this is probably gonna hurt. Me, I'm sticking with XP and Linux for the time being.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zotz (3951) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:07PM (#22694842) Homepage Journal
    Depending on the situation:

    Linux is too difficult for the average person, they will need outside help. But windows is so easy the average person can handle things themselves, no need for outside help.

    Whereas other times we see things like you put forward:

    "Now what are those people complaining about? That they didn't research what "Vista Capable" entails? That they have no clue on how to do IT?"

    Problems with windows really aren't windows problems, they are due to clueless users.

    Which is it? Do you need expert skill and knowledge to run windows properly and safely or not?

    all the best,

    drew
    http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:09PM (#22694862) Homepage

    I don't understand the lawsuit - if they would've informed themselves, they wouldn't have had the problem. And the machines CAN run Windows Vista - all the editions. Just Aero and Moviemaker won't work without a proper graphic card, but that's not much of a problem.

    The point of the lawsuit is that if a product has a sticker saying "Vista Capable", then that should be all the research necessary.

    Not running "Aero" is actually a pretty big problem. For most people the only noticeable change in Vista is the new pretty GUI. I know there's supposedly other new features, but that's the only one that sticks out to most people. So when it's not there...

    If people would just "inform themselves", there would be no spam, no malware, no viruses, no security problems, ... Obviously that's not going to happen. It's hard enough for the average idiot to buy computer hardware without Microsoft lying to them.

  • 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.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:23PM (#22694904) Homepage
    Windows, Linux, Mac OS are all operating systems meant to be used by users, and administrated by administrators.

    They are NOT meant to administrated by users. What marketing says is one thing, reality is another. Most users do not possess or are willing to learn the knowledge required for even basic troubleshooting.

    I'm not blaming them for that - i'm blaming them for not getting professional help. It's the same way i handle my car. I drive it (user), but i'll leave repais and checkups to qualified professionals (administrators).
  • 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.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:31PM (#22694962)
    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.
  • 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:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Posting=!Working (197779) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:32PM (#22694976)
    Now what are those people complaining about? That they didn't research what "Vista Capable" entails?

    No, they didn't. No one should have to. If it's capable of running the Vista that was advertised (all ads showed the Aero interface), it should be labeled Vista Capable. If it only runs a crippled version of Vista that is NEVER seen in an ad, except to be listed by name and price, it should be labeled "Vista Crippled." If it won't run common software and hardware, it should never have been released. Why the hell would anyone assume otherwise? Even people at Microsoft thought so.

    That they have no clue on how to do IT?

    Again, no they don't, nor should they have to. Not everyone who buys a computer works in an IT department. Most don't know much about the inner workings of computers, so they go by what the promotion says, that Vista is the best OS out there, and you can do all these wonderful things with it. Even many who do work for IT, even Microsoft employees, would not assume that drivers would not exist (and never be planned to exist) for common hardware and software. XP ran these devices and programs, and reasonable people would assume the heavily advertised upgrade to XP would too.

    I don't understand the lawsuit - if they would've informed themselves, they wouldn't have had the problem.

    If Microsoft hadn't intentionally misinformed the public, they wouldn't have had the problem. You shouldn't have to do research to refute the "facts" that companies

    And the machines CAN run Windows Vista - all the editions. Just Aero and Moviemaker won't work without a proper graphic card, but that's not much of a problem.

    It is a HUGE problem for a lot of people. Just because you don't use Moviemaker doesn't make it unimportant. Ditto the Aero interface.

    It's like buying a DVD player for a TV you bought because it was labeled DVD-Capable, then finding out it will only play in black & white unless you get a DVD-Premium-Ready TV.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:34PM (#22695006)
    "Linux is too difficult for the average person"

    So the million people that bought Eee PCs are all above average?
  • by Delkster (820935) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:35PM (#22695014)

    It's great but ultimately MS got money from your family so they got the dollar-votes...

    Perhaps they won't get their money on the next round.

  • by ncohafmuta (577957) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @06:36PM (#22695018)

    As my MS machines die, Apple will get more sales.
    Not if you keep buying machines with windows on them, as in this case.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nizo (81281) * on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:07PM (#22695260) Homepage Journal
    Since this is Slashdot, everybody loves a car analogy.


    Lets say a car company markets a gas powered car as an "electric motor ready" car. "Sweet" says I the consumer; next year when the company starts selling electric motors, I will be able to stick one in my car. Then next year rolls around, and the only electric motor that will fit in my "electric motor ready" car will only let me go 15mph; oh and the batteries will take up the rest of the car, meaning I can't carry any passengers or cargo. And not too surprisingly all of that was left off the "electric motor ready" car marketing material.

  • 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?

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Keyper7 (1160079) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:30PM (#22695444)
    While I do agree that the correct interpretation of "capable" in this case is not exactly unique and obvious, I would say that the opinion of Microsoft employees (and I mean personal private opinions, not public and clearly marketing-oriented opinions) should be taken into account. The internal emails revealed that some quite relevant people didn't consider certain Intel chipsets Vista-capable, yet they slapped the sticker there to make Intel happy. In other words, machines were displaying on stores words that the people who developed the operating system didn't exactly agree with.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:44PM (#22695554)
    I think John Q. Public isn't going to realise that undergoing a research project, prior to buying what is rapidly become just another consumer electronics device, is required. They will want what it says on the box.

    Standard American corporate bullshittery.

    You want to fly from SF to NY. They ask if you want a flight where you change planes in Houston. You say no, you want a direct flight. Surprise -- your "direct" flight stops in Denver, but you stay on the same plane. Bummer for you that direct doesn't mean what you think it means -- the magic word to describe the flight you wanted is "non-stop". Now don't you feel like a dumb shit?

    Same with furniture. A "genuine oak" table only has to have the normally-seen surfaces made of oak, even if it's a veneer only 1/128 inch thick. Tough that you didn't know what you wanted was "solid oak".

    Similarly an "on-time" departure means only that the plane backs away from the gate -- within fifteen minutes or so -- of the scheduled time. (Try arriving "on-time" for a job interview, even if you're applying at an airline.) Too bad if it then sits on the tarmac for three hours while the toilets fill up.

    Ever been to Starfuck's where the smallest coffee you can get is called large?

    Every once in a while, there's a bright spot. Some years back, some financial outfit offered one "free" share of some stock. All you had to do was give them your name and address, plus some personal information. The SEC stepped in and said the company had to follow all the SEC rules for engaging in the sale of stock. The company contended that they were not selling, just giving it away "free". The SEC stamped on them, saying that the additional personal information was of value to the company, therefore the stock was being purchased for something of value and came under SEC purview. So it was a case of send the stock along for just the name and address with no additional information required or comply with all applicable regulations as a seller of stock.

    Speaking of "free", have you ever wondered how the grocery industry computes profits? Whenever a clerks' strike is looming, the supermarket chains trot out the old bogeyman of "razor-thin margins", implying that a 2% raise will drive them into bankruptcy, followed by selling their bodies in an unsavory part of town.

    Yet, just last night, for using my "club card", they gave me a 33% discount off the listed price of my groceries. WTF??? Allegedly my name and buying habits are worth 1/3 of the price of the groceries.

    Not that I care. It's not my card. I misplaced mine many years ago, so the clerk just picked up a blank off the counter and said, "Here, use this one." I'm assuming it's a blank because, when I pay cash (as opposed to using my credit card from which they can get my mane), I get a rather surprised, "Thank you, Mr. ... uh ... Valued Customer".

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kesuki (321456) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @07:58PM (#22695666) Journal
    "Linux is too difficult for the average person"

    if you mean having a password to log in and install software, then maybe. If you mean 'switching to linux' then definitely. if you mean 'troubleshooting things that don't work' then they're in the same boat as when windows doesn't behave nicely. as far as 'using' linux goes, it's not hard at all. just tape up a password /log in reminder for the bad of memory, and they're good to go. e-mail, web, installing software via synaptic package manger, all easy as pie. playing card games, using open office, all easy...

    the place they're likely to run into problems (most likely) is playing dvds, burning dvds, sending documents from open office to a ms word user. trying to install mpeg encoders, trying to rip dvds, trying to play back drmed audio, etc... but for a lot of users not one of those issues is going to come up. it really depends on who's using the computer and what for. 'the internet' in general works a bit better with linux, so many people who 'just want to use this internet thing' convincing them to use linux isn't that hard. as long as someone else sets it up for them.
  • Your comment suggests that no additional discovery is yet necessary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @03:07AM (#22697796)
    if you care about humanity, work for another company
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Monday March 10, 2008 @04:18AM (#22698128) Journal
    surely linux would be easy enough with a geeky friend as well.

    Easier once it's set up, in my experience.

    The problem is, there's a lot of "gurus" out there who are one-trick ponies. They know Windows well, and that knowledge is a source of respect and free dinners for them. They're the ones who keep the average punter tied to the monopoly wheel.

  • Re:Vista disaster (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anzya (464805) on Monday March 10, 2008 @05:42AM (#22698368)
    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...
  • Re:ahoj (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tatermonkey (1199435) on Monday March 10, 2008 @07:49AM (#22698928)
    2 months before XP was released I bought a computer that was "XP Ready". Granted it was a top of the line for its day, I was able to load and run XP with no problems what so ever hardware wise. My drivers were available from the manufacturers and ran great. Upgrading to XP back then I lost the use of one game which I was able to run later on after a few patches. That is what "(Insert OS) Ready" means. Vista obviously has other issues.

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