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Microsoft Moves To Quash Case, End E-mail Revelations 158

Posted by timothy
from the gentlemen-do-not-open-each-other's-email dept.
CWmike writes "Microsoft asked a federal judge yesterday to end the class-action lawsuit that has been the source of a treasure trove of embarrassing insider e-mails covering everything from managers badmouthing Intel to others on who worried how Vista would be compared to Apple's Mac OS X in 2005. In seeking to end the case, Microsoft argues the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the lowest-priced version of Windows Vista was not the 'real' Vista, or showed that users paid more for PCs prior to the new operating system's launch because of the Vista Capable campaign."
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Microsoft Moves To Quash Case, End E-mail Revelations

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  • Good Luck MSFT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:47PM (#25859851) Journal

    I worked retail during the period "Vista ready" hit the shelves and only a very small handful of machines meet what our team of salespeople would consider to be truly capable of running vista. The whole thing was a total scam to sell as many computers as possible during the typical iteration lull; when a new product is about to release, nobody typically wants the old one. The seriously funny part of Vista's release is how few people wanted it, but MSFT acted like everyone was going to love it, thus proving how out of touch they are with reality. The new Seinfeld ads prove this to be true. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @05:52PM (#25860173)

      actually.

      power corrupts, but powrpoint corrupts absolutly...

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:49PM (#25859857)

    ...of selectively disabling features in a software product and selling a product at a lower price. It's a bit different for things in the real world, where there's a real physical cost involved with adding extra do-dads and features to products. But in software, it's just flipping a few bits to remove features you've already developed. The crazy thing is, it actually costs *more* to do this, as the company now has multiple versions of the product to package, distribute, and support.

    I'd much prefer the game industry's model of "premium versions" of a game containing extra bonuses. The core product is the same, but if you want to pay for it, you can get a few extras, maybe a "making of" DVD, or a CD containing the soundtrack, books and figurines, stuff like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by naoursla (99850)

      The EU requires Microsoft to release a basic version as part of their antitrust lawsuite. Each feature in the premium versions requires a price attached to it and the premium version has to cost the same as the basic version plus the price of each additional feature. If any discount is given for combining features then it is considered "bundling" and is not allowed.

      • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @05:06PM (#25859947)

        This only applies to the media player, due to the knock-on effect on web-based video and music of having every windows pc guaranteed to have microsoft's codecs. This is the reason for the -N versions on the vista DVD.

        There's no reason microsoft couldn't have split vista into two versions; home and business. All the extra 'ultimate' crap, and turning off aero entirely in basic was just segmenting the market to extract as much money as possible.

        • by naoursla (99850)

          From :

          A 2002 settlement that arose out of the US Justice Department's antitrust pursuit of Microsoft "established a comprehensive regulatory scheme that not only resolved past conduct, but also created a detailed compliance structure to address future competitive concerns that might arise," the letter said. "This regulatory scheme insures that Microsoft can continue to add new features into its products but allows both users and computer manufacturers to hide these additional features and use competing prod

        • and turning off aero entirely in basic was just segmenting the market to extract as much money as possible

          Aero is like wood trim in a luxury car (I love car analogies). It's mostly just pretty, Although I imagine it's possible that someone somewhere might find something about it that improves their efficiency.

          Take a look at their product matrix.

          The "easy" feature that they hold back from *every* edition except ultimate is encryption. Ok, business has "filesystem encryption" but from the product page, I ge

    • How do you determine what is a bonus feature and what was removed? Just shift names around and stuff and you can have exactly the same thing with the same effect.

      There's really no problem with doing this.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dutch Gun (899105)

        How do you determine what is a bonus feature and what was removed? Just shift names around and stuff and you can have exactly the same thing with the same effect.

        There's really no problem with doing this.

        I'd differentiate it by asking: Is the core product in the "light" version of the software intentionally crippled? Or, perhaps one could look at it a different way. Is the "standard" product the less expensive or more expensive one (i.e. the one that gets promoted)?

        Using my example of the game industry (normal games vs "collector edition" games), you can clearly see that the standard package is the less expensive SKU. However, the game itself in both packages are identical. The "collector edition" boxes

        • Naturally, you're correct that it's a matter of perception. But when selling products to consumers, perception matters, right?

          Yes, that's my point. Just market it differently and you make the crippled version be the normal version and all other versions have bonus features and it's the EXACT same thing.

          Hell, the stripped-down version might otherwise allow people who couldn't buy the full version a chance at a new, modern operating system. Not sure why they'd choose Vista (lol) but you see my point?

          Percept

    • by inflex (123318)

      Sometimes this happens because you bring out a fully featured, single level product with a certain price tag and people are buying it. A little later on you get messages from other interested parties along the lines of "I really like your product - but I don't need features X, Y or Z, could you provide a cheaper product without those features?", and so it happens.

    • by mgblst (80109) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @10:17PM (#25861787) Homepage

      It is not always the case for hardware. Intel chips would often have part of the hardware disabled, because it is cheaper to make one type of chip than two (the 386sx/dx, 486sx,dx, etc...) Cameras as well, can come with hardware that is not supported by the version of software installed, thus disabling part of it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jo_ham (604554)

        This is done with hardware for manufacturing costs and so on, as you state - only one set of tooling needed to make the chips, or the widget or whatever it is your company makes.

        Then you can stream it at QA, which I know Intel has done in the past, and put lower quality batches as slower chips, selling them as such. The QA assures that they will work properly at say 1GHz, when it's literally an identical chip to the 1.5GHz in the more expensive box - it just failed QA at that speed.

        Not that Intel are innoce

  • by CaptainOfSpray (1229754) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:49PM (#25859861)
    I sincerely hope MS get their feet held to the fire over this.

    As an ex-IBMer, I have wondered for years why Microsoft is not drowning in antitrust cases (or the modern fashionable class actions). For the 13 years the second A-T case against IBM ran, every employee signed off the Business Conduct Guidelines every year, and knew that a breach of the BCG was cause for instant dismissal.

    MS doesn't seem to think unethical behaviour is even noticed.
    • by jacquesm (154384) <j&ww,com> on Saturday November 22, 2008 @05:04PM (#25859935) Homepage

      Better yet, they've elevated it to an artform. Buying representatives on standards committees, bribing government officials to get rid of FOSS friendly legislation, the list is endless.

      When having to choose between monsanto and microsoft as the supreme example of an outright criminal corporation it's a tough choice.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hanyin (1301045)

        When having to choose between monsanto and microsoft as the supreme example of an outright criminal corporation it's a tough choice.

        I don't know about you but when it comes to corporate monopolies I mind a lot more when it's food having less genetic variety compared to one company's OS being run on every computer; and then there are the dominant terminator seeds that spread to neighboring fields so that regular crops can no longer be grown... at least there's no virus on my Mac that uninstalls OSX and replaces it with Vista.

        So I suppose that while *some* of their actions are similar, the bigger criminal is easily Monsanto.

      • by wildwood (153376)

        When having to choose between monsanto and microsoft as the supreme example of an outright criminal corporation it's a tough choice.

        Shouldn't DeBeers be in there somewhere?

    • by Eukariote (881204)

      I sincerely hope MS get their feet held to the fire over this.

      Why just MS? They were bribed into lowering their vista ready standards by Intel. Intel should also be punished for trying to keep the market to themselves through such an illegal backroom deal.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        in order to prove Intel did wrong you have to prove MSFT was wrong and get MSFT to say bad things about Intel. Since Windows Is the only CPU stuck OS anymore pissing off Intel isn't possible for MSFT.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fact: Microsoft has VERY strict Conduct Guidelines that every employee and manager must comply with. These guidelines do include proper Business Conduct, and cover things such as accepting or handing out bribes (in any form, including "well it was just a nice gesture!" scenarios). They're referred to as "SBC" (Standards of Business Conduct).

      These mandatory compliance rules are updated on average twice a year (sometimes more often depending upon what changes), and every employee has to watch a series of vi

  • by mattytee (1395955) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:57PM (#25859907) Homepage
    From TFA:

    "The evidence refutes Plaintiffs' claims that Windows Vista Home Basic cannot 'fairly' be called Windows Vista," Microsoft said in the motion for summary judgment.

    And yet their own internal communications talk about what a piece of crap it is, and how the "Vista capable" thing will blow up in their face, mislead consumers, etc etc.

    Ultimate-ly (smirk smirk), the lawyers are going to be the ones to hash out these definitions, and it'll be a damn shame if "the big lie" technique succeeds, but factually speaking, Microsoft did intentionally mislead consumers.

  • Microsoft today issued a plea through its network of objective opinion-shapers: Don't let the journalists near it. [today.com]

    "We understand that many journalists use Macs," said CNet marketing marketer Don Reisinger. "This means they necessarily suckle at the Satanic rear passage of Steve Jobs. We cannot countenance their bias. Journalists are responsible for all those signs outside computer shops offering to replace Vista with XP. When was the last time you saw the entire technology field stop and wait for an announcement from any other company besides Apple? It's so unfair!"

    Smears and slanders also come from obsessive overweight nerdy Mac-using Linux geek troublemakers who run "benchmarks" and "tests." "It's horrifying bias from the 'reality'-based community," said ZDNet marketing marketer Mary Jo Enderle. "We understand that, just because Vista was 40% slower than XP, the nattering nabobs of negativism are already writing that it's 'not enough of an improvement.' It's so unfair!"

    "Mactards are like concentration camp guards," said Guardian marketing marketer Jack Schofield, "brutalising 'I'm A PC' users and" [This comment has been removed by a Guardian moderator. Replies may also be deleted.]

    "The only reason Vista failed was because Microsoft planned for it to fail," said Reisinger in an earlier ad-banner troll post. "It was a fantastically subtle double-bluff! They did the honorable thing in the face of the vile calumnies spread by Apple. It's so unfair!"

  • by Wingsy (761354) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:52PM (#25860515)
    From ieee.org, and other places: Unfortunately, 158 pages of internal Microsoft emails by employees like Michael Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management, tends to undercut Microsoft's insistence that there was nothing misleading with Vista. Nash wrote that he "personally got burned" by buying a laptop that was labeled as Windows Vista Capable: "I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine." If their advertising can fool a VP then it surely can fool the plaintiffs. I don't think they have a leg to stand on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jawtheshark (198669) *
      Well, he could run Linux on it and it wouldn't be an email machine ;-)
    • I wasted $5000 on Vista capable machines tooling up for Vista development. It wasn't until I couln't run Aero that I stumbled across the concept of Vista Capable. Then I went to the Microsoft web site and searched for Vista Capable. That is when the term "Core Experience" first came to light. When I searched for Core Experience, that is when I found out about the "Premium Ready" stickers that I had not previously seen. For some weeks the VIsta Capable machines were for sale before any of the Premium Ready s
    • What a dumb fuck.

      I have a 999 dollar (CostCo) machine that runs Vista Ultimate X64 with NO problems.

      Hell, even when I trashed the default install of (Vista Standard X86) and upgraded to Vista Ultimate X64, two reboots and EVERYTHING worked, even my remote control. Took about 90 minutes for the complete install to be done. I couldn't be happier.

      If he spent thousands on a laptop, He's an idiot. If he bought a machine and used the default installation of ANY operating system, He's an idiot. And from having

    • by Bungie (192858)

      Nash wrote that he "personally got burned" by buying a laptop that was labeled as Windows Vista Capable

      If you're using it for e-mail Vista must be running, and thus the machine is rightly "Vista Capable". So is a P3 with 512MB of RAM but I don't expect it to get a high hardware rating and run Aero. That's like blaming Intel because your Celeron has crappy performance and the "Intel Inside" sticker mislead you.

  • "Microsoft argues the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the lowest-priced version of Windows Vista was not the 'real' Vista, "

    I sure as hell can. The beta versions of Vista had more features than Vista Home Basic.

    I still have copies of the betas that can be compared to Vista Home Basic.

  • apparently, in Microsoft's eyes, "capable" merely means being able to boot to a minimum gui... whether you could actually run software on top of it without it being a painful disc/memory swapfest is bye the bye... it managed to boot up the minimum gui, therefore it must have been "Vista Capable"...

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