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Judge OKs class action lawsuit over "Windows Vista Capable" labeling
Robert Charlton




msg:3583260
 9:29 am on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Suit Against Microsoft Over Vista OK'd [ap.google.com]

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge said Friday that consumers may go ahead with a class action lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. over the way it advertised computers loaded with Windows XP as capable of running the Vista operating system.

The lawsuit said Microsoft's labeling of some PCs as "Windows Vista Capable" was misleading because many of those computers were not powerful enough to run all of Vista's features, including the much-touted "Aero" user interface.


 

tedster




msg:3583421
 6:00 pm on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm glad to see this tested legally. I personally know of a few painful cases where money and time were thrown away by consumers.

ByronM




msg:3583436
 6:54 pm on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wow, what a waste of our judicial system. Do these morons (yes they're morons) know you have consumer rights when you buy something and you can simply choose to return or avoid such products?

Windows vista is an OS that needs a certain "rating" to used advanced features. If you buy a 250-300.00 computer who would expect it to run the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles?

dcheney




msg:3583445
 7:03 pm on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you buy a 250-300.00 computer who would expect it to run the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles?

While I know the technical requirements for various OS's - most consumers don't. And if the machine is clearly labeled as being "Capable" of running Vista then it really should be.

IMO, it was a label designed to be deceptive - so that users would buy a computer (especially in the Christmas season) before Vista was available.

Lord Majestic




msg:3583446
 7:08 pm on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Windows vista is an OS that needs a certain "rating" to used advanced features.

Yes, that's why (I think) they created this labelling program to make it easy for consumers to decide which PC will be able to run new OS. If Microsoft does not know what hardware is needed to run their product, then who does?

IANAL, but I think Microsoft will lose (or settle) it - there were already emails made public where inside Microsoft they wondered if these labels actually work as intended, no doubt more dirt will be found out during discovery process.

As usual in this kind of lawsuit the main winners will be lawyers, while consumers will probably "win" $10 discount voucher off Vista ][.

This post was typed on Windows XP computer :)

Receptional Andy




msg:3583503
 10:14 pm on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

This kind of labelling has been common in the technology markets for ages. "HD compatible" is stuck on a lot of non HD-ready (i.e. downscaled res) TVs in the UK. It seems to me the intention of this is to bamboozle consumers who don't know the terminology. The same with PMPO and RMS for audio equipment.

I always assumed caveat emptor for marketing speak, so I'll be interested to see the ruling in this case.

ByronM




msg:3583861
 1:03 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Folks, Windows Vista runs without Aero. "Windows Vista Capable" doesn't mean "Will run like a 1,000 dollar pc" and i don't think ever was designed to mean that. Windows vista capable means the PC can run vista - has driver support and vendor support. The logo program is a certification of the hardware - NOT THE PERFORMANCE OR LEVEL OF FUNCTIONALITY.

Next thing you know people will sue because it says "NVIDIA" on the box and they assume they can by the pc with he built in 6100 and run Crysis at full res on a 22" monitor they got.

Just because it says "Nvidia" doesn't mean its the fasted nvidia processor and can run DX9 or DX10 games. Just because it says "Windows Vista Capable" doesn't mean it runs all the latest vista features.

ca·pa·ble (kā'pə-bəl)
adj.
- Having capacity or ability; efficient and able: a capable administrator.
- Having the ability required for a specific task or accomplishment; qualified: capable of winning.
- Having the inclination or disposition: capable of violence.
- Permitting an action to be performed: an error capable of remedy; a camera capable of being used underwater.

what is there to sue about? Am i going to sue energy star because they said it would lower my energy bill? Am i going to sue my window company because they said the energy efficient windows would solve my heating/cooling problems? While they made MINUTE differences and the changes were more cosmetic than anything it doesn't mean i should call them liars. There may be more leaks in the house than windows could fix and just because some appliances use less doesn't mean my old ones will either.

sue away i guess.. its a waste of the judicial system if you ask me. Educating consumers is the ONLY way to solve this problem (if there ever was one)

honestly.. what PC sold since the holidays says "Capable" yet doesn't run aero? my 5 year old PC runs aero with a 29.00 video card.

Lord Majestic




msg:3583879
 1:42 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Next thing you know people will sue because it says "NVIDIA" on the box and they assume they can by the pc with he built in 6100 and run Crysis at full res on a 22" monitor they got.

If NVIDIA put a label saying "Crysis ready" meaning the game, and the game did not run fast enough then people would have every right to ask for money back.

If Aero is a key default feature of Vista and label says "Vista ready", then Aero should be expected to work - you might as well argue that Windows can run in 640x480 black and white mode, so even 5 years old machine can run it fine, but clearly in this case it was inferred that new PCs bought with label "Vista ready" will run most advertised features of Vista well.

I have little doubt that Microsoft will settle this lawsuit because they would surely lose it - from all the lawsuits flying around these days this one is probably one of the most legitimate.

bakedjake




msg:3583883
 1:51 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I guess what I don't understand is why Microsoft is being sued here. Why not the computer manufacturers?

Lord Majestic




msg:3583893
 1:57 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I guess what I don't understand is why Microsoft is being sued here.

Probably beacuse it is Microsoft who was making decision what hardware is needed to be "Vista ready" - I am pretty sure manufacturers supplied spec and Microsoft was making decision who gets the label. Also Microsoft has got more money to win to pay those hungry hungry lawyers :)

bakedjake




msg:3583901
 2:05 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

LM, I partially agree with you. But, the computer manufacturers ultimately decide whether to stick on that label or not, and they choose to do so because they know it will increase sales.

The lawsuit just smacks of stupidity. The folks bringing it didn't even purchase a laptop. They haven't named the computer manufacturers. It sounds like a bunch of anti-Microsoft nuts with nothing better to do.

Lord Majestic




msg:3583978
 3:19 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

the computer manufacturers ultimately decide whether to stick on that label or not

I don't think so - I am 99% sure it is Microsoft that was responsible for decision making as to which computer got the label and which did not - they already have certification labs that do testing and award other labels, like say "WHQL" certification: who would dare to put one of those labels without written legal permission from Microsoft? I doubt manufacturers were that stupid, which is why lawsuit goes to Microsoft as ultimately responsibility rests with them - the only way manufacturers would be liable if it was proven that they used such label without Microsoft's permission.

Sure, manufacturers used it to increase sales, but I think in this case Microsoft has got some serious questions to answer - there was an email floating around where Microsoft exec was basically saying that some of the "Vista ready" label computer he bought was not running it well.

I am not anti-Microsoft and don't like lawsuits, however I think this is actually a rare case when the lawsuit is justified, though payouts will be mainly to lawyers, common people who bought computers are likely to get discount vouchers like it happened in the past.

ByronM




msg:3583987
 3:27 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

If NVIDIA put a label saying "Crysis ready" meaning the game, and the game did not run fast enough then people would have every right to ask for money back.

Again, "Windows Vista Capable" doesn't mean "Windows Aero". So why hold one logo certification to a higher standard than another?


If Aero is a key default feature of Vista and label says "Vista ready", then Aero should be expected to work - you might as well argue that Windows can run in 640x480 black and white mode, so even 5 years old machine can run it fine, but clearly in this case it was inferred that new PCs bought with label "Vista ready" will run most advertised features of Vista well.

Vista Ready is a different logo certification than Windows Vista Capable.

Here is the logo certification.

[microsoft.com...]

Windows Vista Capable is minimum performance specs to run windows vista.

Windows Vista Premium capable includes all of the premium features.

There is no case here folks.


I have little doubt that Microsoft will settle this lawsuit because they would surely lose it - from all the lawsuits flying around these days this one is probably one of the most legitimate.

Hardly a legitimate case when the logo program is tiered based upon the tiered versions of Vista.

Lord Majestic




msg:3583994
 3:41 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

So why hold one logo certification to a higher standard than another?

I think the allegation here is that one logo was created to imply that a computer with it can run main advertised features of Vista, most visual of which is Aero - the fact that somewhere in small print it says that "Windows Vista Capable" does not actually mean that you can have Aero is irrelevant - if lots of people bought something on the basis of one logo and got disappointed, then they were mislead - maybe they were just too stupid to understand the difference, or read the small print, but this still reflects very poorly on Microsoft even if legally they are right, which I think is not the case here: I don't use Vista and speficially Aero is not something I would like to have at all, however when new OS includes such a new GUI then to talk about it being "premium" feature is ridiculous.

Frankly, I don't think it is Vista if it has not got Aero, I used beta of Windows Server 2008 using old Windows 2000 theme and it looked just the same, the whole point of Vista being consumer OS is having distinctive features like Aero, and if Vista "capable" computer can't run it then it is not really capable in my view.

Anyway, I am going back to work now - we shall see how this case develops, my money is on Microsoft settling it, of course without admitting to any fault :)

ByronM




msg:3584011
 4:05 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Its apparent to me that you're holding the logo to a higher standard than the program its designed for yet holding other programs to a lower standard simply because they're not microsoft.

When i buy a computer that has an Nvidia logo on it should i assume it supports DX10, shader modeling 3, DX10.1 extensions and plays the latest games? i mean if i'm buying a new computer you can assume it has a "new" Video card all the meanwhile assuming it runs aero right?

It says Nvidia on the box just like it says vista capable so it must do everything i want and i shouldn't have to do further research and if it doesn't do what i want i should be able to sue right?

Lord Majestic




msg:3584017
 4:15 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

You use incorrect analogy: a correct analogy would have been buying a graphics card with a label "Crysis capable" only to find out that it in actuality in order to run Crysis you have to scale down resolution to 640x480 using poor quality shaders.

Aero is a key feature of Vista - it is what pretty much makes it Vista from Windows NT 5.1, it was wrong in the first place to draw distinction between "premium" and "non-premium" features, it was inevitable people were confused - the responsibility for this confusion is almost exclusively Microsoft's responsibility, in my view of course.

The bottom line is this: lots of people feel they were mislead and disappointed in Vista precisely by the label that was designed to avoid such disappointed (by preventing people from buying computers that can't run it well).

ByronM




msg:3584049
 5:01 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Windows Vista Capable" doesn't mean "Windows Aero".

You're assuming the only advantage of Vista is Aero, ignoring th fact that it has a better kernel, better network stack, better security (even after disabling the annoying UAC), better audio/visual "Stacks" (finally able to tweak volumes based upon applications and whatnot) much deeper active directory/ACL/group policy integration, updated installed apps (media center, games, dvd burning, movie maker) and tons of other features.

Crysis is just an example of a game that has extreme requirements to run it in full fledged mode. You could probably run it on much lesser hardware by meeting the basic specs so there is NO difference in logo program unless you infer them differently based upon obvious bias.

As an OS you're not losing OS functionality by running the basic logo program. If you read the logo details and visit the logo site you would see you would want a premium system if you want to play games, use aero and have full functionality of all features.

Sounds to me like manufactures are dumping cheap crap and blaming microsoft that it doesn't run well and this lawsuit is just the ramifications of deceitful sales tactics by hardware manufactures.

There is absolutely no reason in todays market a PC couldn't run aero and if a manufacture builds such PC's MS shouldn't be at fault for someone who strives for the bare minimum.

Lord Majestic




msg:3584060
 5:15 pm on Feb 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Crysis is just an example of a game that has extreme requirements to run it in full fledged mode

"Vista is just an example of a OS that has extreme requirements to run it in full fledged mode" - you said it - I wrote a lot of stuff but then deleted it just to leave this one phrase, I think it sums up the situation very nicely :)

bill




msg:3584513
 1:45 am on Feb 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

MS has clearly described what each version of Vista can do for quite some time now, even before the launch. If you compare editions [microsoft.com] they plainly tell you which versions support which functions, including Areo. They've also been up front with hardware requirements [microsoft.com]. They even provide a free Vista Upgrade Advisor [microsoft.com] software that you can run on a PC to check whether it's Vista ready.

ByronM is quite correct, "Windows Vista Capable" doesn't mean "Windows Aero". MS released this info well before the product launched: Vista Home Basic won't have Aero [webmasterworld.com].

walkman




msg:3595875
 12:53 am on Mar 10, 2008 (gmt 0)


System: The following 2 messages were spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/msft/3595873.htm [webmasterworld.com] by tedster - 10:45 pm on Mar. 9, 2008 (EST -5)


bad msft, very bad:
[nytimes.com...]
Did Jon simply have bad luck? Apparently not. When another person, Steven, hears about Jon’s woes, he says drivers are missing in every category — “this is the same across the whole ecosystem.”

Then there’s Mike, who buys a laptop that has a reassuring “Windows Vista Capable” logo affixed. He thinks that he will be able to run Vista in all of its glory, as well as favorite Microsoft programs like Movie Maker. His report: “I personally got burned.” His new laptop — logo or no logo — lacks the necessary graphics chip and can run neither his favorite video-editing software nor anything but a hobbled version of Vista. “I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine,” he says.

It turns out that Mike is clearly not a naďf. He’s Mike Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management. And Jon, who is dismayed to learn that the drivers he needs don’t exist? That’s Jon A. Shirley, a Microsoft board member and former president and chief operating officer. And Steven, who reports that missing drivers are anything but exceptional, is in a good position to know: he’s Steven Sinofsky, the company’s senior vice president responsible for Windows.


jimbeetle




msg:3595952
 3:14 am on Mar 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

He, he, he. Yeah, I got a real good chuckle out of that this morning. It's so muddled that it's hard to say that MS clearly knew what it was doing as it was doing it since some of it's own high-powered folks weren't quite sure what was what.

Who's lap does this fall into? Ballmer's?

walkman




msg:3596019
 6:05 am on Mar 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> MS has clearly described what each version of Vista can do for quite some time now, even before the launch. If you compare editions they plainly tell you which versions support which functions, including Areo. They've also been up front with hardware requirements. They even provide a free Vista Upgrade Advisor software that you can run on a PC to check whether it's Vista ready.

Moral of the story: IGNORE Vista. Simply too complicated. I want a computer that works and don't want to scroll through EULAs to see whether they disclosed it clearly or whether they were deceptive.

bill




msg:3596198
 1:06 pm on Mar 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

That was never in an EULA. It was in press releases and product announcements. I provided a few direct links for your reference. Feel free to refer to them.

walkman




msg:3596351
 3:30 pm on Mar 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Bill, I was generalizing. Even if they technically did so, it still was deceptive for me /John Doe so now I can't trust them. Sort of an ARM mortgage: the truth is disclosed somewhere but they hide it.

bill




msg:3596953
 12:32 am on Mar 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Bill, I was generalizing.

Then you took my post out of context. There was some back and forth in the thread about whether "Windows Vista Capable" = "Windows Aero". I was pointing out that Microsoft had been pretty clear that not all versions of Vista would have that functionality and that the hardware requirements for Aero were higher.

IGNORE Vista. Simply too complicated.

Are you saying that you won't use complicated software? That may be limiting, but it's certainly your prerogative. The big issue here is that as a consumer if you're going to put down a few thousand $ for a new PC, or a few hundred $ for some new software aren't you going to perform the basic due diligence to see that the capabilities match your expectations? I'd certainly do that with any Mac or *nix machine/software I bought.

That NYT article sure does look damning on the surface, but it's pretty biased. I don't know how much credence to give to such a sensational article. I work for a very large company that makes things, and if they took our e-mails about marketing and inter-company goings on I could guarantee you that anyone could write a very similar article just by cherry picking the gripes. However, that may not be the entire context of the situation. Big companies have dynamics that go beyond what you will find in e-mails and management reports. So, that article, while well written and engaging, may not be the nail-in-the-coffin it may seem to be.

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