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Microsoft Loses Appeal of "Vista-Capable" Lawsuit 236

Posted by kdawson
from the now-it-comes-out dept.
bfwebster writes "Microsoft has lost its appeal to remove class-action status for the 'Vista Capable' lawsuit that has already resulted in some embarrassing internal e-mails being released publicly. As Computerworld reports, in its appeal to the US Ninth Circuit Court, Microsoft argued (among other things) that 'continuing the lawsuit might mean new disclosures of insider e-mails, which could "jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill" and "disrupt Microsoft's relationships with its business partners."' Given what's been released so far (158-page PDF), not to mention Microsoft's history of rather frank internal e-mails, that's probably putting it mildly. There could be some interesting reading ahead."
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Microsoft Loses Appeal of "Vista-Capable" Lawsuit

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  • Goodwill? (Score:5, Funny)

    by webview (49052) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:03PM (#23165138)
    Microsoft's Goodwill? Everyone (including ISVs and OEMs) know how to work with Microsoft.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:35PM (#23165480)
      Microsoft 'goodwill'?

      "You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."
    • Fsck the customers, they are merely corporate assets.
    • by Gerzel (240421)
      "know how to work with Microsoft."

      You mean know how to use KY and bend over? Or how to use KY and bend their customers over?
  • Yay! (Score:2, Funny)

    by symbolset (646467)

    If he wins... we get more coupons for Microsoft products... in 2024.

  • Depressing: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:11PM (#23165232)
    What's depressing is that a number of the execs complained about the Vista Capable thing too (Mike Nash being one of them, but there are others who didn't complain in their emails).

    The Vista Capable debacle happened the exact same way both the Challenger and Columbia disasters happened; the only reason those with objections went with the majority decision was due to group suppression of judgment. Psychological conformity, essentially.
    • Re:Depressing: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr@bhtooef[ ]rg ['r.o' in gap]> on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:29PM (#23165416) Homepage Journal
      So, in other words, just like how Slashdot works?
      • by aztektum (170569)
        Well said. Couldn't agree more!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AdamKG (1004604)

        You were modded up for noting that Slashdot's moderation was driven by psychological conformity... which, depending on your perspective, could be viewed either as a vindication or as a counterpoint to your comment.

        Slashdot moderators became self-aware at 7:29PM, April 21, 2008...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)
        You're kidding, right?

        If Slashdot users were designing a product, it would be in development for twenty years because nobody would ever be able to agree on what the product would actually be, and every feature discussion would devolve into an endless flamefest between people of diametrically opposed opinions.

        Slashdot "groupthink" is at worst one of high school cliques, where everyone joins their favorite group and pretends it's the best, but there are dozens of cliques and there's essentially no downside to
        • You ought to check out the Linux Kernel mailing list if you want to see flame wars galore. Somehow stuff still gets done.
        • by delt0r (999393)
          After 20 years I doubt we would have even decided what programing language to use!
        • by rohan972 (880586)

          If Slashdot users were designing a product, it would be in development for twenty years because nobody would ever be able to agree on what the product would actually be
          The slashdot product is ready now. It is argument. Behold! [slashdot.org]
      • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
        Slashdot is about the only place suffering from groupthink that exemplifies the people who point it out.
  • How Much Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <.semi_famous. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:12PM (#23165248) Homepage Journal
    I wonder, though, how much this will really cost.

    Some of the machines that said "vista capable" were, some were barely capable. But they've been downplaying the minimum requirements forever. If you had a system with the minimum requirements for XP, it ran like a dog. Did people expect that buying something with the minimum requirements for Vista would generate better results?

    In the end, I think some entertainment might come out of the trial, but the financial award will end up being little more than a slap on the wrist to Microsoft. Time will tell.

    - Greg
    • Re:How Much Really? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:33PM (#23165458)
      The Vista Premium Ready requirements are about there for a low end base line but the "core" ones are to low. The core should of been what Vista Premium is and Vista Premium should be moved to 2gb or more ram + HT or dual core or better cpu with a video card with 128 MB or more of graphics memory useing it's own ram.
    • by xouumalperxe (815707) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:44PM (#23165606)

      I don't think it's fair to expect people today to remember how XP ran in 2001 when it was released. Most users are not, and need not be, technically oriented, and it's been 7 bloody years (Microsoft's fault on that last bit ;). While I personally don't expect things to run perfectly on the minimum required hardware, I do think it's fair to expect them to run decently though.

      If the expression "minimum requirements" is defined as "the very least required to run", then the "minimum requirements" announced are probably a fair bit above what Vista actually demands to run, so that's not quite right. In fact, a google search for "Vista minimum requirements" yields a page on Microsoft's site called "Windows Vista recommended system requirements".

      Now, you may say I'm splitting hairs or arguing semantics, but fact is, it says "recommended system requirements", and I say it's quite fair to demand companies make sure that the recommended specs suffice for a reasonable experience.

      • by MBC1977 (978793)
        Define reasonable? Your reasonable may not be another's reasonable. Another thing to consider is the software load on the system. A bare Vista installation (with the recommended specs) works just fine. Start adding software and depending on the quality of that software and whether or not it was developed for Vista (with those recommend specs in mind), depends on whether you have a turtle or a deer (bad analogy aside).
        • by thsths (31372)
          > Define reasonable?

          While generally I agree, I think in this case the answer is clear. Windows Vista runs reasonably, if it offers a tangible advantage (as advertised) over Windows XP. If users decide on mass that it runs better with those resource consuming 3D effects turned off (which are after all the main selling point), then obviously it does not run reasonable.

          The judge will take this very same position, as it is legally perfectly sound. The leaked memos just add insult to injury. And Microsoft wil
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:37PM (#23166060) Homepage
        Let's compare minimum requirements for Vista to the minimum requirements that most game developers come up with. When I used to buy PC games, the minimum requirements got you 640x480 with all the graphics turned down to minimum, along with the sound quality dropped down also. And it only ran at 20-30 FPS. Less if there was lots going on. The experience on Vista with the minimum requirements is about the same. You don't get any shiny graphics, and it runs quite slowly. Quite often the frame rate drops to zero few 10 seconds while it brings up a UAC dialog, but it works, and it is usable, assuming you aren't trying to run a bunch of memory hungry apps. I wouldn't want to run VS.Net or Photoshop on a machine with Vista and only 512 MB of RAM. But if you're just browsing the web and doing some word processing, the minimum requirements are fine.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rohan972 (880586)

        If the expression "minimum requirements" is defined as "the very least required to run", then the "minimum requirements" announced are probably a fair bit above what Vista actually demands to run, so that's not quite right.

        IIRC, part of the issue is essentially "what is Vista", the arguement being something like: Due to Microsoft's marketing of Aero being indistinguishable from Vista, customers identified Vista as Aero. So a system not capable of running Aero was not capable of running Vista in the sense t

    • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:34PM (#23166024)
      Yes, XP with the minimum system requirements ran like a dog. You could do anything you wanted with it, but it was dog slow.

      The difference is, with Vista, with the minimum requirements, it not only is dog slow, but there are many features of it that you simply can't run. At all. And others that you can run, but only with reduced function.

      That's a huge difference.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        How is that different from games? With games, the minimum requirements often will give you a very reduced version of the game. A network card isn't in the requirements, but you don't get to play online if you don't have one. That's quite a significant part of many games.
        • by LurkerXXX (667952)
          An operating system is not a game.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            You're right. But they are both computer programs.
            • by jlarocco (851450)

              I don't think it's a correct comparison, though.

              With a game it's reasonable to expect the user will be running the game, the OS, and nothing (or very little) else when they're running on a minimum requirements system.

              But the entire point of an operating system is to let the user run other software. If the OS itself requires all of the ram listed in its minimum requirements, then the minimum is too low.

          • by T-Bone-T (1048702)
            You are factually correct, but your intent(taken from the context of the comment) is not. An OS is not a game, but it does require a computer of some sort.
          • by setagllib (753300)
            When the requirements for Vista exceed the requirements for Oblivion, and the Vista experience is much more challenging and less enjoyable than Oblivion, Vista more than qualifies as a game.
        • How is that different from games? With games, the minimum requirements often will give you a very reduced version of the game. A network card isn't in the requirements, but you don't get to play online if you don't have one. That's quite a significant part of many games.

          Which is pretty much like saying that getting shot in the head is not much worse than getting shot in the heart. But both should be avoided for a long and healthy life.

          Both are wrong. Both are marketing spec. So both should be corrected.

    • by Eil (82413)
      Some of the machines that said "vista capable" were, some were barely capable. But they've been downplaying the minimum requirements forever. If you had a system with the minimum requirements for XP, it ran like a dog. Did people expect that buying something with the minimum requirements for Vista would generate better results?

      Okay, if someone goes out and buys Vista for their computer using only the listed system requirements as a guide instead of doing actual research to find out if Vista will work on the
    • As long as I can remember, the minimum RAM as stated by Microsoft would run the OS fine but leave not much room for applications. As soon as you loaded an application that required significant amounts of RAM, the system would start to do heavy paging and performance went to hell. Doubling the "minimum RAM" usually gave OK performance.

      I remember the above for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. Other versions may have the same problem, but with these I have enough experience to confirm t
  • Are They Serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:19PM (#23165330) Homepage
    As Computerworld reports, in its appeal to the US Ninth Circuit Court, Microsoft argued (among other things) that 'continuing the lawsuit might mean new disclosures of insider e-mails, which could "jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill" and "disrupt Microsoft's relationships with its business partners."'

    Are they serious? "We're assholes, and we've been caught, and being caught being an asshole makes the world think you're an asshole, which would be bad for business. Therefore, we should not allow the courts to expose the fact that we're assholes. Our precious money stream relies on being able to be assholes without getting caught." I hope the judge hit their lawyer in the face with a shovel before saying, "denied."
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:25PM (#23165374)
    With whom? OEM manufacturers who were forced to stuff the system with "MS recommended" additional "content" (read: adcrap)? Resellers who were browbeat to sell MS systems, and MS systems only, if they wanted to be able to offer competitive prices? Users who have been subjected to activation procedures and data collection machinations that make even some secret services blush?

    Anyone still got MS in high esteem?
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:19PM (#23165918)
      Only goodwill with investors matters. MS does not really consider goodwill with OEMs or customers. They screw them around. The "install base" is just considered a corporate asset not worthy of goodwill.
  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @07:40PM (#23165542) Homepage Journal
    continuing the lawsuit might mean new disclosures of insider e-mails, which could "jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill"

    That soooo reminds me of one of the memorable quotes in LiarLiar (http://www.amazon.com/review/R2TISC7BK6BUTV)

    Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
    Judge: Why?
    Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!
    Judge: Overruled.
    Fletcher: Good call!


    I suppose the short summary of their appeal case was "We'd like you to stop digging because you'll probably find more dirt." No, the legal system is supposed to work that way, thank you. (care to borrow my shovel? how about my backhoe?)
  • by shanen (462549) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:07PM (#23165796) Homepage Journal
    I like freedom and competition. Freedom is about my being able to choose what I like and need based on real information about real option--not just the advertising propaganda. Competition creates those options. Together they work to drive progress and the evolution of better products.

    Microsoft's idea is that I should only be free to choose some flavor of Microsoft, and Microsoft gets to tell me what me needs are and what the options are. Change? Only when Microsoft has bled the revenue stream dry. Evolution? Only if the better ideas outside of Microsoft are getting too much cursed publicity.

    I see this as a philosophic deadlock. However, there is an easy solution. Chop Microsoft into four or five pieces. Give each of them a copy of the source and let them compete with each other (and with Linux and Apple and the rest of the current crop of dwarfs).
    • by homer_s (799572)
      Microsoft's idea is that I should only be free to choose some flavor of Microsoft, and Microsoft gets to tell me what me needs are and what the options are.

      I must have missed that. I have been running linux (at home and at work) for the last 6 years and MS has *never* told me what my options are.

      This might be a wild guess, but I think they only impose conditions on you if you enter into a (voluntary) agreement with them.
      • Or you need to interoperate with people using their products. Haven't you been paying attention to the EU prosecution, the buying of ISO etc?
    • by Allador (537449)

      I see this as a philosophic deadlock. However, there is an easy solution.
      There is an easy solution.

      Use your freedom of choice to choose something other than Microsoft. There are several alternatives available, from free (open source) to expensive boutique (apple).

      Fortunately, there's plenty of competition in the market and there are two valid alternatives that could be made to work if thats what you really want.
    • by Tom (822)
      Yeah, because we all know that worked extremely well with the phone companies, didn't it?

      I'm with you that MS needs to be ripped apart. But that's not the end of the story, only the beginning. You have to prevent that the "pieces" simply merge, cooperate, or otherwise continue doing business as before. You have to ensure that they don't simply develop a few new anti-competitive strategies. Lots of what MS is guilty off can be done just as easily with multiple companies.
  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:12PM (#23165850)
    ...has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:15PM (#23165890)
    Whitehouse/Government and just "lose" emails?:)
  • new disclosures of insider e-mails, which could "jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill" and "disrupt Microsoft's relationships with its business partners.

    LOL. What is microsoft doing that we aren't aware of already? Let alone its business partners!

    It would be funny if microsoft abandoned email all together and resorted to paper and ink and barn fires for all their communications.

    On the other hand, I am surprised that the White House did a better job of destroying emails that were suppose to be open, compared to these internal emails at Microsoft that were suppose to be proprietary!

  • FTA: The company argued that continuing the lawsuit might mean new disclosures of insider e-mails, which could "jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill" and "disrupt Microsoft's relationships with its business partners."

    I think that what jeopardized their "goodwill" more than anything was their decision to actually release Vista! A bloated OS, that required major hardware upgrades, along with poor compatibility with many mission-critical software applications, and strong-arm marketing to attempt to force it on

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @08:42PM (#23166098)
    Don't get too excited the 9th Circuit court of appeals is the most often overturned court int he land. Maybe because they don't actually take the LAW into account when making their decisions. http://www.centerforindividualfreedom.org/legal/9th_circuit.htm [centerfori...reedom.org]
    • I skimmed that link, and I wasn't particularly moved. Getting offtopic, but where did the term "activist judges" come from? Judge's have always had the ability to make law, dating back to the founding of the common law system. Why are people surprised by this?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Coolhand2120 (1001761)
        I'm not sure what country you live in, but in the U.S.A., judges are supposed to interpret the law, not make the law. Legislators are the law makers and the judges are the interpreters. An "activist judge" is someone who interprets the law to favour their own political ideology or other agenda.

        I'm actually quite surprised that people didn't know that there is a difference between a law maker and a judge. Judges are sworn to upload the constitution of the state and the laws of the state, as for the f
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hemogoblin (982564)
          I think you're the one who is confused. I suggest reading the Wikipedia article on the Common Law system [wikipedia.org] as a starting point.

          Now show me where it says judges MAKE laws in the U.S.
          All of Tort law and partnership law for one. There's more too.
      • by syntaxglitch (889367) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @07:28AM (#23169668)

        Getting offtopic, but where did the term "activist judges" come from?
        It's a derogatory term meaning something like "judge who interprets the law in a way that disagrees with my political biases." The term was popularized by, and is most frequently used by, extreme right wingers, often in reference to the 9th Circuit, usually accompanied by the same disingenuous talking points about how much more frequently overturned their decisions supposedly are (see also: lies, damn lies, and statistics). Any political opinion that complains about "activist" judges is probably safely disregarded as specious.
  • by humphrm (18130) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @09:18PM (#23166404) Homepage
    As with any controversial decision coming from the 9th Circuit, take it with a grain of salt until it passes the next appeal level.
  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday April 22, 2008 @10:13PM (#23166894)
    I really don't understand the minimum requirements. If you play Crysis with a computer that matched the "minimum requirements" list you'd ... well, the program would RUN. And Vista RUNS. What exactly does a minimum requirement specify then? As far as I understand, it's what is actually required to run the actual program, not even necessarily run it enough to work with it well. I don't like Vista even though I generally tend to be on the defend-XP side - but really, the double standard between minimum requirements for Microsoft and minimum requirements for any other product is frustrating. But then, any anti-Microsoft comment on Slashdot typically gets modded up as insightful or interesting, even if it's redundant. And, by the way, having everyone switch to Linux won't help that much. Linux is easy for computer nerds/techies to use. Windows is a ton easier for a lot of people, and it's not just what you're used to, it's getting your wireless card, sound card, or video card to work right. Windows does it, Linux doesn't always. :)
    • by BitZtream (692029)
      Minimum requirements are the specs you need to run the software at the lowest usable level. Both Windows Vista and Crysis will run with less hardware than specified on the box as 'minimum requirements'.

      With Crysis, if you have the recommended requirements, the software performs reasonably well.

      With Vista, if you have the recommended requirements, it still runs like most people would expect it to run if you just had the minimum requirements. I.E. It runs like crap with the recommended requirements unless
      • by yuna49 (905461)
        I haven't looked at the case in a while, but I thought the class-action suit was premised on the nature of the marketing Microsoft undertook for Vista, particularly the emphasis on Aero and other "glitzy" features in its advertising. I'm not entirely convinced Microsoft will lose this case, but the plaintiffs claim that the "Vista-capable" sticker was applied to machines that were unable to perform at the level advertised.

        Automobile ads invariably show vehicles with many additional features, but they inclu
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Bad example but still... the minimum memory requirements for Centos5 is 256MB. I built a home server and installed Centos while the (eBayed) machine still had 128MB, I had ordered more... but completely forgot about the fact that needed to add more memory because the machine was running perfectly. For a paid product, minimum requirements should give all the features advertised.
    • by wumpus188 (657540)
      Dude, that's easy... just break yourself both arms and legs. Now get up and go take a leak. Without crutches. That's a minimum requirement.
  • by Tom (822)
    With their constant and blatant disregard of the law, one really has to wonder why they provide these mails at all, instead of "accidentally" deleting them come discovery time. Or maybe, just maybe, which even worse mails they did "forget" to include.
  • by Eevee (535658) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @10:48AM (#23171650)
    Dell has a chart [dell.com] showing the performance for various configurations. Under the Basic Windows Vista Experience - No Aero column (800MHz, 512MB), they show Great for...

    Booting the Operating System, without running applications or games
    Kind of says it all.

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