Microsoft sued over Vista 'Capable' and 'Premium Ready' Marketing

Dennis Faas's picture

In the first of what may become many law suits involving Microsoft Windows Vista, a class action suit was recently filed alleging that people who bought "Vista Capable" and "Vista Ready" computers last year have found themselves with a machine barely capable of running Vista, not capable of running "the real Vista."

Last year, before the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft and several computer makers launched a program to put "Windows Vista Capable" logos on computers that met hardware requirements to run the new operating system when it came out.

The law suit alleges that people bought the machines thinking they would be able to benefit from all of Vistas new features when it became available when in fact, their machines were only capable of running Windows Vista Home Basic which doesn't include the Aero Glass graphical user interface (one of the most highly touted new features of Windows Vista), Flip3D, or the Media Center interface.

A copy of the law suit (PDF), filed on behalf of Dianne Kelley can be found on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer site, seeks class-action status, potentially letting others take part.

Microsoft is disputing the allegations and says it will contest the suit, saying they went above and beyond making the differences between "capable" and "premium ready" clear.

"The facts are just very different from what's alleged in the complaint ... Microsoft conducted a very broad and unprecedented effort to educate not just consumers who were going to buy our products, but the PC manufacturers and retailers who sold computers to understand the hardware requirements to run the various flavors of the Windows Vista operating system," said Linda Norman, a Microsoft associate general counsel.

She also said the lack of some advanced features doesn't mean Home Basic isn't Windows Vista. "Anybody who purchased a PC that had the Windows Vista Capable logo got the core experience of Windows Vista," she said. "We have different versions, and they do offer different features. ... The Windows (Vista) core experience is a huge advance over Windows XP, we believe, and provides some great features, particularly in the area of security and reliability, and just general ease of use."

The law suit goes on to allege that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates contributed to the company's "deceptive marketing" during a Jan. 29 appearance on the "Today" show, when he said that PC users could upgrade to Windows Vista for less than $100. In fact, you can "upgrade" to Vista Home Basic for that price.

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