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Microsoft Government The Almighty Buck The Courts News

Microsoft 'Vista Capable' Settlement Cost Could Be Over $8 Billion 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-seinfeld-look-like-chump-change dept.
bk- writes with news that documents from the "Vista Capable" class-action lawsuit against Microsoft indicate the software giant could be on the hook for as much as $8.52 billion in upgrade costs. "[University of Washington economist Keith] Leffler came up with his total upgrade costs by calculating how much it would cost to upgrade each of the 19.4 million PCs with 1 GB of memory and graphics cards or onboard chipsets able to run Aero, according to Keizer. Leffler put the maximum cost of upgrading the desktops at $155, while positing that the notebooks' integrated graphics would be more tricky to replace and would cost between $245 and $590 per unit. The total price tag for Microsoft would thus range from $3.92 billion to $8.52 billion and in some cases would include complete replacements of notebooks that could not be feasibly upgraded, Leffler testified. Microsoft in its response argued that giving litigants 'a free upgrade to Premium-ready PCs would provide a windfall to millions.'"
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Microsoft 'Vista Capable' Settlement Cost Could Be Over $8 Billion

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  • by wjh31 (1372867) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:27PM (#26590501) Homepage
    what if they re-funded the cost of an OEM version of vista to everyone, and provided a free downgrade to XP, or up to 7, im sure that would cost less than $400 per PC, and seems an especially more practical alternative to upgrading the laptops.

    considering the value of a new laptop with 1GB ram and an aero-capable intel chipset these days, i wonder how many people would bother to get it changed once you factor in the hassle of sending off your laptop, waiting on the new one, setting it up, transfering the data etc...

    its reasonable to hold microsoft accountable for what is clearly misleading, but retailers/manufacturers are equally responsible for putting the sticker on if they knew their hardware couldnt run it acceptabley, even if MS said it would.
  • by Meshach (578918) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:30PM (#26590531)
    I have to agree with you that OEM vendors should bear a share of the responsibility.

    OEM do piles of testing and development to install their "tools" / malware onto the machines. They must have known that the OS was not capable.
  • by Meshach (578918) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:32PM (#26590555)
    I don't think that a judge has authority to order MS to change their release dates. A judge can just order them to make restitution to customers who have been misled.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:35PM (#26590581) Homepage Journal

    Hardware makers lobbied hard to get the sticker applied to hardware that couldn't support Aero & Microsoft caved.

    The Hardware makers should be at least as responsible, because they are the ones putting the stickers on the system.

    I dislike Microsoft as much as the next guy (well, most places) but fighting unfairness with unfairness is a little bitch move.

    Microsoft didn't put the stickers on the computers. Hold the integrators responsible. At least as responsible as Microsoft, maybe more.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:38PM (#26590621) Homepage

    Nope. This lawsuit refers to machines which were sold with XP installed but with a sticker saying "Vista Capable" on them (and often a voucher for the Vista upgrade).

    Vista because it wasn't available at the time so they couldn't test machines with it.

  • Another concern (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eck011219 (851729) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:39PM (#26590623)

    You know, I love a good Microsoft pummeling as much as the next guy, but my concern is that MS is just now starting to come around to a slightly more rational way of thinking about its customers. I'm cautiously optimistic about Windows 7 in this regard.

    But if you cut an $8 billion hole in Microsoft, you run the risk of making them frantic to patch that hole. And as we know, they have some pretty well-developed skills for being really aggressive at the expense of the end user.

    I'm not saying they shouldn't be penalized (and consumers shouldn't be compensated), but this was also the fault of the hardware manufacturers who pushed so hard on Microsoft to get the sticker on their products. Spread the blame more equitably across ALL guilty parties, and you may avoid any one entity getting that caged-animal mentality that only ends up hurting the consumer.

  • What is the problem? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:40PM (#26590629)

    How stupid is this lawsuit?

    These people could use Vista, just not with all the graphical "enchancements".

    If you were to buy a computer game that came with a set of hardware requirements that you just met, You wouldn't then turn around and moan about how you couldn't run it in full HD with all the highest settings.

    You could still play the game, but at lower settings. But you aren't happy with that, you meet the requirements and demand that you be able to play with all the settings to maximum, so you take them to court.

    What would the result be? You would be laughed out of court.

    This is no different to "Vista Capable". They can use Vista perfectly fine, but not necessarily with all the bells and whistles.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:45PM (#26590675)

    Sure hardware people asked for it. But it's the same as if your friend tells you that you should con people out of money. You choose to do it so it's your fault.

    I disagree with your analogy. To me its:

    My friends that want to con people out of money by selling them junk endorsed by a celebrity harware reviewer, (i.e. me). But I won't endorse their junk... so they piss and moan for a while, and I cave.

    They then stick my endorsement on their junk, and the customer gets ripped off by my friends.

    They then sue my ass for endorsing their junk, because I lied when I said it was good. Should I be on the hook? Yeah, I lied. But my friends are at the very least equal partners in this con; not only was it their idea, but they are the ones who actually sold the junk, and they did so deliberately and intentionally knowing it was junk.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:57PM (#26590773)

    In case Microsoft really has to pay up, it would be trivial, and here's why. Microsoft will ask for leniency in light of "current economic times," then go ahead and hike license costs for those who will buy Windows 7/Vista.

    Given that Microsoft's revenues are in the tens of billions of dollars, this will not be that hard to recoup. So brace yourselves for a higher Microsoft tax in years to come.
     

  • Re:Haha yeah. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:09PM (#26590889)

    So, how's it feel to be astroturfing for a buggy whip manufacturer well after the introduction of automobiles? Pay well?

    If somebody's getting paid to make stupid posts on Slashdot, then I'd imagine it feels pretty good. What, are you high?

    --
    Don't feed the trolls - when an AC says something stupid, let it slide.

  • Re:Microsoft Stock? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tinpipes (179194) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:32PM (#26591121)

    Will you take my old Fedora Core 4 install disks?

  • Re:More Likely... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:54PM (#26591405)

    That's a good plan. But I'm still confused by the $250 figure.

    Vista is STILL VISTA without the pretty Aero effects. Just because your window isn't translucent doesn't make it any less Vista.

    I can buy a "Crysis Capable" computer that meets the low end system requirements but not be able to play with full AA at 1080p with all effects turned on.

    Furthermore I've run Vista on a system with 1GB of RAM and an integrated graphics chip. It was slow. But it ran. And I've run vista on a computer with 2GB of RAM, a low end Core 2 Duo and cheap AGP video card. It ran fine but not as fast as my quad core i7. At what point is a computer "Too slow".

    Microsoft knowingly lowered its targets for what it considered an acceptable user experience--- and payed the price in spades through bad reviews and user backlash. But it did install. It did boot. It did run applications which provided drivers (which is pretty much every piece of hardware made in the last 5 years.)

    I would like toe see the empirical definition of what constitutes a vista Incapable machine. Especially because my Athlon 2600XP with a 1GB of ram handled it fine.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:14PM (#26591627)

    What ad? Capable of running Windows Vista means "it will install Windows Vista and you can run whatever programs your computer has the resources for". That's it.

    What ever happened to doing research, as a consumer, before making a purchase?

    It's like when Bill Hicks was alive and was talking about how we, collectively, are at about an 8th grade emotional level, particularly in the USA. Only mature people are willing and able to take responsibility for their actions, which would include recognizing why purchasing what you do not understand opens you up to this sort of failure and that this consideration is completely separate and independent from the question of whether the other guy misrepresented anything.

  • by Cally (10873) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:20PM (#26591707) Homepage
    The stickers were physically slapped on the plastic by the OEMs, sure, but the right to do so was in Microsoft's gift. It was their right to give or withhold the right to apply the Vista Ready sticker to hardware of a given spec. The badges were - are - a proxy for Microsoft's direct assurance to the purchaser that their product will work on the hardware. It didn't. Microsoft screwed up. (There was an hhuge furore [slashdot.org] internally when certain senior management figures stitched up other senior management figures [slashdot.org].
  • Re:Well. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:35PM (#26591861)

    They lied to shift hardware. To avoid pissing off Intel. They therefore need to give you WHAT YOU PAID FOR - you paid for a machine that was stated it could run Aero capably, so you should get that. No more No less.

    Here in the UK, that'd be the retailer's problem. After all, it was they who sold you the product (complete with Vista capable sticker), it's their problem if it later transpires it isn't Vista capable. (In the real world, you'd almost certainly have no end of trouble getting a refund or a free upgrade in a case like this, but that's not really the point)

    I'm surprised that this isn't the case in the US, frankly. What's the point in retailers if they're not responsible for the products they retail?

  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tacvek (948259) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:14PM (#26592813) Journal

    They lied to shift hardware. To avoid pissing off Intel. They therefore need to give you WHAT YOU PAID FOR - you paid for a machine that was stated it could run Aero capably, so you should get that. No more No less.

    Here in the UK, that'd be the retailer's problem. After all, it was they who sold you the product (complete with Vista capable sticker), it's their problem if it later transpires it isn't Vista capable. (In the real world, you'd almost certainly have no end of trouble getting a refund or a free upgrade in a case like this, but that's not really the point)

    I'm surprised that this isn't the case in the US, frankly. What's the point in retailers if they're not responsible for the products they retail?

    In most cases a the point of retailers is that they are they only way to get a product new without buying it in bulk. To buy from the manufacturer usually requires an enormous order, usually exceeding what 30 retailers could move in a year. So in most markets only distributors buy from the manufacturer. To buy from the distributor usually requires a purchase around the size that an average retailer could move in a year. Only by buying from a retailer can you buy just one.

    Not all markets are like this. The computer market is a major example of a case where consumers can by directly from the manufacturer in small quantities. But try buying a razor directly from the manufacturer sometime.

  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:28PM (#26592939) Journal

    Sounds great. So, I'll sell you a car without an engine. Just because you saw an advertisement of the car moving doesn't mean the engine isn't extra. I'll sell you Starcraft without a CD Key. Sure, you can't use the game, but there wasn't a sticker that said "is more valuable than a door stop". Or, I'll advertise to you a Big Mac, but when it comes to when you open the box, it'll be missing the beef patties. I mean, the menu didn't *say* there would be beef patties in the product. Just give a refund on the missing part, and let the consumer be stuck with the rest for their stupidity.

    Yes, let's just ignore the obvious misconception that was being pushed with "vista capable". Or try to pretend that Microsoft-approved labels used as Microsoft intended aren't at all related to a responsibility on Microsoft's part not to defraud. Does that mean I think handing out hardware to fulfill the promise is the right answer? Not probably (having the option to return the whole machine for the original retail price, minimally, sounds better). But certainly a system where a company can defraud you with the minimal risk of having to, after a time, return money for a few defective parts encourages intentionally making expensive things with a few crucial, cheap, broken parts. At that level, fraud laws have been effectively bypassed, and that's definitely not the solution.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:43PM (#26593091)
    yeah right, MS is going to buy us all a 1 gig stick of ram. ffs people use your brains, MS is at best going to refund the cost of vista from your PC or send you a copy of windows XP.

    if this happens, it will be the year of the linux desktop with duke nukem forever being released simultanously by steve jobs while monkeys fly out his ass.

  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Odin's Raven (145278) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @08:04PM (#26593907)

    Make MS give them a free upgrade/sidegrade/downgrade to a working operating system compatible with their hardware.

    So MS has to send everyone a free Linux CD? :-)

  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @08:11PM (#26593961)

    Funny, I gave it a try. http://www.gillette.com/en-US/#/shopnow/ [gillette.com] is promising, but they redirect to an apparently affiliated pharmacy.

  • by master_p (608214) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @04:26AM (#26596535)

    The Wikipedia article is total nonsense. Patriotism has always meant to 'love my country', and that includes criticism of my country if I see that my country is wrong.

    It's only in the last few years with the wicked Bush administration that patriotism reversed to 'hush, don't say anything, support our troops'.

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