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"Vista Capable" Lawsuit Is Now a Class Action 225

An anonymous reader notes an update in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporting that the lawsuit against Microsoft's "Windows Vista Capable" marketing campaign has been granted class-action status. We discussed the company's internal misgivings with this campaign a while back. The suit alleges that "...Microsoft unjustly enriched itself by promoting PCs as 'Windows Vista Capable' even when they could only run a bare-bones version of the operating system, called 'Vista Home Basic.'" In the 2006 pre-holiday season, Microsoft had placed "Windows Vista Capable" stickers on machines to keep the sale of Windows XP machines going after Vista was delayed. Microsoft didn't lose out totally in the recent ruling — the article notes that the judge "narrowed the basis on which plaintiffs could move forward with their claims."
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"Vista Capable" Lawsuit Is Now a Class Action

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  • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ( 245670 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @03:51AM (#22533264)
    I guess you don't understand the purpose of a class action. The purpose is never to benefit the consumer. The purpose is to punish the target of the class action. That is a valid purpose in a situation like this where the individual losses of the consumer were negligible but, in aggregate, add up to a significant amount.

    No reasonable person is going to file an individual lawsuit against Microsoft because of this because the amount of money they could recover (if they win) is less than the value of the time it would take to file in small claims court, prepare the evidence, take a day off work...heck, it's not even worth the effort of typing it all out. But does that mean Microsoft should be off the hook? No. That's where the class action comes in.
  • Re:GOOOO!!! LINUX (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Menkhaf ( 627996 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @04:04AM (#22533312)
    I've used Linux for some years now, and almost every time I try to run a program with WINE, I get surprised at how well it actually works. There are bugs, of course, but I find that WINE is an exceptional piece of software and it works well with a lot of things...
  • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeyVB ( 787338 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @05:13AM (#22533532)

    E. Revoke their charter of incorporation.

    I bet they would start to get the point after the first few.

  • Class Action Blows (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Flash0424 ( 1231554 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @07:10AM (#22533872)
    There are so many things in this world that fall into this similar pattern, but it's always (mostly) MS that gets hit with it. It annoys me, because the judges that OK these lawsuits don't have a clue about technology (mostly) and are making decisions based on guesses and their 'gut feeling' that day. It scares me because these same judges are dismissing real law, or not allowing things into the courtroom, arbitrarily (and again, depending on their mood)... As an example, I recently purchased a car stereo. It states clearly on the box that it's HD Radio Ready. It doesn't mention that I have to purchase equipment from the same manufacturer, which costs at least 50% more. It's also iPod capable (I don't own an iPod, and haven't tested this feature), but the cable is sold seperately. Another example would be car manufacturers...I've never tested whether my vehicle does 0-60 in 9 seconds, but no one would dream of taking Chrysler, Chevrolet or any of them to task for their obvious failings. I have to admit that I prefer MS products to any of the other OS flavors out there, so I may be a little biased. I just wish everyone would go about their business and leave the lawyers to find new jobs!!
  • by asd-Strom ( 792539 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @07:31AM (#22533942)
    Well, 2k is faster than Vista because it has a lot less features. If you don't use any of those features, then sure, ok you can stick with the older stuff. But I personally benefit from Vista features and thus I'm also using Vista.
  • Do people really expect a $500 desktop or laptop to run Windows Vista Ultimate at the same performance as a high-end gaming machine?

    No, but they do expect to be able to use all features. My laptop is Vista Capable (bought it because of the sticker, but not for the reasons you might think), but it cannot run Aero. Hence, it cannot run Vista Ultimate with all features on, hence you can't really call it "Vista Capable".

  • Well, that's just shows that the problem is their version policy, isn't it? The fact that "Vista" is an encompassing brandname for a whole bunch of different OSes with different capabilities makes it extremely hard to say what "Vista" is. As anyone, I'd expect it to meet the requirements to run "Vista Ultimate" with everything on, because it's "Vista".

    Okay, so it is slightly under-handed to make people expect Aero when they're going to get core Vista, but that's just marketing.

    It's not "just marketing", it is plainly misleading... that's the whole problem. I run Linux on mine anyway, and that was the reason I bought it. The sticker to me meant, "Cheap computer where I can run Linux on". ;-)

  • Re:Ridiculous. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xelios ( 822510 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:01AM (#22534914)

    Instead they're selling half a dozen or more version of Vista where eye candy is an option - more so in some than others.
    Not quite, only the most expensive versions have the eye candy as an option. And that's the problem. You pay more specifically for the eye candy then aren't able to run it on your Vista Capable machine.

    And that doesn't hint at anything? TBH I wouldn't expect my new £50,000 sports car to run well at all on the £60 each cheap tyres I bought for my Fiat Punto.
    No, it doesn't hint at anything, certainly not in the way your analogy makes it seem. Microsoft has a history of charging more for versions that can do more, but in the past it's had nothing to do with computer specifications. XP Pro will run just as well on a computer that supports XP Home.

    Only if you take marketing at their word and assume (naively) that "capable" means "fully functional of everything" rather than taking the more normal meaning of "capable" which is "it can do it in some way". Capable has an implied undertone of "and not much more". Some of its synonyms imply more than a basic level, but I would always take capable to mean capable, not capable and exceeding the minimum.
    I would too, but I still think it's a basis for a lawsuit, and obviously the judge in this case agrees. I just don't think they'll win, for the reason you mentioned.
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @11:19AM (#22535034) Homepage

    ... that the judge orders Microsoft to do all testing for all versions of Vista and all versions of the next OS they market on these computers they identify as "Vista Capable".

    It would never happen. Microsoft will test the next OS home version on dual-socket octal-core 4-GHz 64-bit processesors with 16-GB RAM and 4-way RAID-0 SATA-6 drive arrays.

  • Re:Ugh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @02:06PM (#22536262)

    Uh, your numbers create perverse incentives. Break 1 million and get 10%, if you had kept it under just by a bit you'd get 33%.
    I said fractional. So if you were awarded $200 million, the lawyer would get:
    • 33% of the first $1 million
    • 10% of $9 million (the $1-$10 million portion)
    • 3% of $90 million (the $10-$100 million portion)
    • 1% of $100 million (the $100-$200 million portion)
    And this was an example so the numbers could be sliced any other way. I'm a big fan of continuous functions but it seems the law is not.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"