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Vista Capable Suit Loses Class Action Status

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 25 comments
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One of the long-running lawsuits against Microsoft today hit a major new development.

Microsoft was under fire for its Vista Capable marketing program. Machines sold with Windows XP but featured a “Windows Vista Capable” sticker were supposed to signify to the consumer that such machines would be able to run Windows Vista – and Windows Vista it does run, but not all machines with the sticker could run the newer OS with all the visual features.

Specifically, those who bought modest Windows XP machines were displeased that their machines were not able to run Vista with the new Aero Glass interface. And so, the class action lawsuit was born. But today, a judge removed the class action status from the lawsuit.

The removal of the class action status is a major blow to the lawsuit, as now the plaintiffs who would like to continue to pursue their complaint against Microsoft must do it on an individual basis.

Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster said in a statement: "We're pleased that the court granted our motion to decertify the class, leaving only the claims of six individuals. We look forward to presenting our case to the jury, should the plaintiffs elect to pursue their individual claims."

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  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 19, 2009 9:57 PM
    The basis for the class status is difficult to prove but Microsoft was denied a summary judgment so it will still go to trial. What a sloppy product launch.
  • 3 Hide
    fuser , February 19, 2009 10:43 PM
    What, I can't store 20GB of music on my 8GB iPhone? Sue! Oh, but this is a Microsoft product, so it's ok to blame the manufacturer for not helping consumers overcome their lack of education.
  • 0 Hide
    AndrewMD , February 19, 2009 11:42 PM
    I am glad that the Class Action part was dropped.

    It's not Microsoft's fault that a kid in the store made you purchase a computer and didn't understand the whole Windows Vista meaning!

  • 3 Hide
    roofus , February 20, 2009 12:20 AM
    so a bunch of people who bought computers at Walmart on clearance couldn't run aero after the Vista upgrade?
  • 0 Hide
    njalterio , February 20, 2009 12:30 AM
    Agree with what everyone said. You would think people would intuitively understand that an OS launched six years from it's previous version would have different hardware requirements.
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , February 20, 2009 1:12 AM
    Say these two words aloud: Vista Basic. What is the first word you just said?

    I rest my case. Just because you don't have the graphical nuances doesn't mean it isn't the same core operating system.
  • 0 Hide
    curnel_D , February 20, 2009 2:27 AM
    We all seen this coming. It was a stupid lawsuit grasping at air anyways.
  • 3 Hide
    enforcer22 , February 20, 2009 7:40 AM
    IMO the judge needs to throw this one out. The computers are vista compatable. As they run vista. Where did they say they were vista compatable and all options, apps, programs, games, and hardware will run on it? I mean hey no one would be stupid enough to say that right? Apperantly microsoft did i mean why else have this law suit right?

    Hi buy this $500 computer it runs vista. OK!

    man i cant activate the dx10 fetures with my dx8 card wtf!

    Suing microsoft cuz my computer isnt able to run vista!

    (shakes head)
  • -5 Hide
    mdillenbeck , February 20, 2009 9:54 AM
    The responses here tell me you all expect consumers to have the same level of expertise in computers that you have. Basically, caveat emptor - a shame this noble sense didn't carry through when you learned the game you just bought had only 3 or 5 activations before being rendered useless.

    Here's my imperfect "vista capable" analogy: its like calling a car roadway capable, then when consumers discover its max speed is 30mph and can't be driven on highways telling them "sorry, we only said it was capable of going on the roads, not that it was compatible with all roadways - if you upgrade your engine, you should be able to get that full driving experience".

    Sorry, I am saddened at the loss of the class action status. After all, what is one individual going to do in court that Microsofts vast legal resources won't squash? Even if the individual does win, what kind of loss is that to Microsoft for its willful obfuscation of what OS could run on Vista Capable branded systems?
  • 1 Hide
    enforcer22 , February 20, 2009 10:02 AM
    MDillenbeckThe responses here tell me you all expect consumers to have the same level of expertise in computers that you have. Basically, caveat emptor - a shame this noble sense didn't carry through when you learned the game you just bought had only 3 or 5 activations before being rendered useless.Here's my imperfect "vista capable" analogy: its like calling a car roadway capable, then when consumers discover its max speed is 30mph and can't be driven on highways telling them "sorry, we only said it was capable of going on the roads, not that it was compatible with all roadways - if you upgrade your engine, you should be able to get that full driving experience".Sorry, I am saddened at the loss of the class action status. After all, what is one individual going to do in court that Microsofts vast legal resources won't squash? Even if the individual does win, what kind of loss is that to Microsoft for its willful obfuscation of what OS could run on Vista Capable branded systems?


    the fact remains that the computers are vista compatable and are running vista. bottom line. you expect to play games at max settings cuz you have the minimum requierments? Vista does have a minimum requierment notation it also says at least on my box to run advance fetures you need more hardware. Long before vista was released they were up front about that.

    the car analagy is insane i dont know how you can say thats close.
  • 2 Hide
    AndrewMD , February 20, 2009 11:47 AM
    Again,
    I must reiterate, if you believe word for word what a high school student working at says is true and cannot be challenged then you deserve what you get. When you tell the salesperson that you are looking for an inexpensive computer but do not tell him everything he needs to know to get you what you need, you deserve what you get. Point is, it is the consumer's lack of understanding what they are getting but is also up to the consumer to research what they need.

    These six (6) consumers wanted an all inclusive pass to EVERYTHING Vista offers on th budget of an entry level computer.
  • 2 Hide
    tayb , February 20, 2009 12:10 PM
    MDillenbeckThe responses here tell me you all expect consumers to have the same level of expertise in computers that you have. Basically, caveat emptor - a shame this noble sense didn't carry through when you learned the game you just bought had only 3 or 5 activations before being rendered useless.Here's my imperfect "vista capable" analogy: its like calling a car roadway capable, then when consumers discover its max speed is 30mph and can't be driven on highways telling them "sorry, we only said it was capable of going on the roads, not that it was compatible with all roadways - if you upgrade your engine, you should be able to get that full driving experience".Sorry, I am saddened at the loss of the class action status. After all, what is one individual going to do in court that Microsofts vast legal resources won't squash? Even if the individual does win, what kind of loss is that to Microsoft for its willful obfuscation of what OS could run on Vista Capable branded systems?


    Wow. Even if your analogy was ridiculous and in no way a comparable situation the fault would STILL lie on the consumer. Had they done proper research or took the car out for a spin they would have noticed what they were getting.

    My new car was touted as having "heated seats" but, it turns out, only the drivers seat is heated. Well I THOUGHT the passenger seat was heated as well. LAWSUIT?????
  • 0 Hide
    jabliese , February 20, 2009 1:02 PM
    Yes, tayb, that is grounds for a lawsuit, if you have proof of your car being sold to you as having heated seats, especially if it is written in a brochure. False advertising, you could probably keep it in small claims court, and come out ahead in the deal too. Without it being written somewhere, like a sticker or something, it would be harder to prove.

    For some strange reason, the laws of the USA expect sellers to not intentionally misrepresent their products. Unlike most of the posters to this board, who seem to think lying and cheating is OK as long as it's done in the name of commerce.
  • 2 Hide
    squatchman , February 20, 2009 1:23 PM
    @MDillenbeck
    Car salesmen aren't running around telling people that their Chevy Silverado will handle like a Corvette with the gas mileage of a SmartCar, but it's up to the consumer to know the capabilities of the product they purchase before they make the investment so they don't get taken.

    These six people are probably the same retards who don't know how to set the clock on their VCRs, etc.
  • 0 Hide
    terr281 , February 20, 2009 4:27 PM
    This is a perfect example of why the US, in regard to capitalism and the consumer, are the way they are today.

    The country is run by the businesses that control the market. Directly? No. But, businesses pay lobbyists to influence politicians to pass laws that allow companies to not tell potential consumers everything about the products they sell.

    The Vista Capable label was, in effect, a "half-truth" when Microsoft marketing was stating that Vista would have the Aero interface. In this effect, Microsoft lied about the Vista Capable program.

    However, US law will allow the individual cases to be won by Microsoft (or secretly settled out of court) where most people will not know they have a legal recourse.

    Yes, consumers should research the products they wish to buy before they buy them. However, what happens when the data is not available where an informed decision can be made? This is what happened with the Vista Capable program due to Microsoft's stated information to the public being all that most of the public had available to use.

    Sure, those with high speed interent connections (still not readily available in most of the rural US), could have spent several hours/days/weeks/months trying to find and understand the information that proved the campaign was a lie.

    Microsoft has a monopoly position on OSs due to the fact that consumer software sold in consumer retail outlets is generally only usable on Windows OSs.

    The only reason AMD exists today is because Intel provided them funding in their early years. (To keep Intel from being an outright monopoly.)

    The US government is not a Democratic Republic of the people, it is a Capitalist Republic of businesses and the wealthy. The country was setup this way. (legal slavery; disenfranchisement unless you were male, 25, and a landowner; US Senators generally appointed by state legislatures, etc.) Politically, the "common person" has come a long way in the past several centuries. Economically, however, things haven't changed.
  • 2 Hide
    FrustratedRhino , February 20, 2009 4:28 PM
    They need new version names.
    Vista Basic now renamed to "This computer thingy werks okay" (Please refer to popup picture book manual for directions)

    Vista Premium now renamed to "Odds are this is too useful for you to understand how it works" (Please refer to picture book if you still decided to get this and STILL don't know what you are doing... it has pretty pictures and makes you feel like you aren't a moron)

    Vista Business renamed to "You should have bought Premium" (Please refer to manual for directions on how to downgrade to Premium)

    Vista Ultimate renamed to "You wasted money on features you will never use." (Please pay 15 dollars for the manual and 15 more dollars for teh decoder key to interpret the manual ... (You already wasted money on the product heck we can squeeze you for all we want now))

    Unfortunately when people buy a computer they expect it to be able to plot the migration of stars and comets and have the power of a super computer, even when the user can barely handle a tivo remote.
  • 1 Hide
    qualme , February 20, 2009 5:14 PM
    MDillenbeckHere's my imperfect "vista capable" analogy: its like calling a car roadway capable, then when consumers discover its max speed is 30mph and can't be driven on highways telling them "sorry, we only said it was capable of going on the roads, not that it was compatible with all roadways - if you upgrade your engine, you should be able to get that full driving experience".

    I think is more like a current economy car being roadway capable and then people being pissed that it is not Autobahn capable.
  • 1 Hide
    squatchman , February 20, 2009 5:29 PM


    Quote:

    Yes, consumers should research the products they wish to buy before they buy them. However, what happens when the data is not available where an informed decision can be made? This is what happened with the Vista Capable program due to Microsoft's stated information to the public being all that most of the public had available to use.

    System requirements were clearly printed on Vista retail boxes and on various websites. This is a case of users being either too lazy or too ignorant to inconvenience themselves with reading about what they want to buy.

    Quote:

    Microsoft has a monopoly position on OSs due to the fact that consumer software sold in consumer retail outlets is generally only usable on Windows OSs.

    Microsoft products will naturally run on a Microsoft platform, and the company isn't at fault if other development firms can't be forced to support other operating systems the way Microsoft does with some of their products.



    You obviously have very strong opinions about .... things. I don't want to be too heavily vested in this topic, but blind hate for Microsoft because it's "in" and a debate teacher thinks it sounds smart won't hold up in court. The people involved in this lawsuit are finding that out first-hand.
  • 3 Hide
    terr281 , February 20, 2009 6:07 PM
    Vista retail boxes did not exist when the Vista Capable problem was running. (Thus, the Vista Capable program: Computers running Win XP Home with "upgrade" potential to Vista once released.)

    The common user of computers does not understand how to get their computer specifications from the BIOS bootup, the System information from Control Panel, etc. (And, as experienced users know, Win XP System properties do not always tell you the complete truth anyway.

    And, no, Microsoft isn't at fault if other companies write software for only Microsoft products. (Windows x) However, when a company (Microsoft) has, for the past 15 years, constantly had a market share of over 90% (until Dec of 2008), then why should a company support anything but products for the Windows platform, correct? I mean, it is only good, profitable, business.

    I am stating the above as a person who only uses Windows because of the simplicity of setup, use, and availability of programs. So, I am not a Microsoft "hater," I just wish another real option existed in the consumer market.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 20, 2009 7:53 PM
    Whoa!
    I actually own a laptop with this sticker on!
    I didn't even know there was a lawsuit against MS.
    I tried installing Vista,which was ok, but my laptop just ran too hot (all going through the GMA 945 chip).
    Besides Aero is the first thing I turn off anyways!
    Windows 7 beta works slightly cooler; though I'll keep my WinXP MCE edition on my laptop for now!
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