updated 07:10 pm EDT, Mon March 10, 2008
Refuting allegations that it knowingly lowered the requirements for Windows Vista to help Intel sell more low-cost chipsets, Microsoft has appealed a decision by District Court Judge Marsha Pechman to allow procession of a class-action filed on those grounds. The Redmond company is simultaneously calling for a pause in the Judge's investigation and appealing her decision's merit in the US Court of Appeals. In its appeal, Microsoft questions how plaintiffs in the suit will be able to prove that the prices of systems in question were inflated as a result of increased demand due to the label "Windows Vista Compatible."
The suit stems from a previous investigation that revealed a message from Microsoft executive John Kalkman which complains of bending the minimum specifications to allow certain budget mainboards to earn the criteria despite missing out on key features. Despite a lack of support for Vista's Aero Glass appearance and other features considered selling points for the OS, the Intel 915 mainboard chipset was allowed to qualify for the Vista Capable logo solely to satisfy the close hardware partner, even though it effectively allowed companies to ship sub-par hardware and delay efforts for more capable equipment.
"In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with the 915 [chipset's] graphics embedded," Kalkman said in February 2007, just after Vista's release.
Microsoft has since responded to the questions raised by this and other e-mail and reiterated its claim that the dialog was evidence of an "active discussion" about how to implement the Vista Capable program rather than evidence of deliberate intent. The Home Basic edition of Vista, which turns off Aero Glass and other performance-intensive elements, is labeled an example of these improvements.