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MS may owe $8.5b for misleading Vista logo

updated 04:00 pm EST, Fri January 23, 2009

MS Damages in Vista Suit

US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman late Thursday has released figures which reveal that Microsoft could be responsible for as much as $8.5 billion in damages for its allegedly misleading Vista Capable program from mid-2006 to early 2007. Testimony from an expert witness as well as a University of Washington economist determines that enough PCs were sold as upgradable from XP to Vista during the period that Microsoft theoretically owes between $3.92 billion and $8.52 billion for the costs needed to upgrade these PCs to Windows Vista Home Premium or better.

At the heart of a suit is an accusation that many of the PCs factored into the damages were given the Vista Capable logo despite lacking the graphics chipset or other hardware necessary to run all of the features in more advanced Vista versions, such as the Aero Glass interface.

Microsoft has publicly denied any attempts to mislead the public and already claims the damage values are exaggerated beyond what would be granted if the plaintiffs won the case.

However, internal Microsoft e-mail published by the court shows Microsoft as having bowed to repeated requests by Intel to certify a low-end mainboard chipset as Vista-capable despite Microsoft objections both before and after the certification took place. Intel chief Paul Otellini is believed to have met his Microsoft counterpart Steve Ballmer as part of this pressure and would thus suggest knowledge of the plan at the company's highest level.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. rytc

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2001



    I hope that MS gets slammed for this and I would say the same if Apple was the one in court for misleading people over the upgradeability of millions of computers. As a huge company that runs the majority of computers MS has a responsibility to tell the truth to the computer using public (and the same applies to MS), failure to do so especially when the CEO knows exactly what is going on deserves a massive penalty.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    Indeed. When will MS learn that it has to play by the rules. No wonder people feel MS is the mafia in IT.

  1. Ouate de phoque

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2007



    Let the cash flow....................

  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001


    Intel was involved...

    Didn't Intel "encourage" MS to have this stupid marketing plan include it's c***-a** integrated graphics chips?

    I would pass the buck to them if I was M$.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    What happens

    This is what happens when you succomb to the pressures of one of your 'partners'. In this case, it was Intel who pressured MS to change their logo specs.

    Of course no one would be forgetting that if Apple was using AMD or IBM for its chips. But, hey, Apple uses Intel, so we'll brush over their involvement.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    Why didn't I think of this before. I shoulda started a class-action lawsuit against my TV manufacturer years ago when it said it was digital TV capable, but can't actually receive digital TV content. Obvious misrepresentation!

    But this lawsuit reminds me of the one brought against Apple for saying the Beige G3s would be OS X compatible, but they failed to get the floppy disk and some video hardware working.

  1. Geobunny

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000



    It reminds of a time waaaay back when my old Performa 630 was sold as "PowerPC upgrade ready"....only they never actually manufactured the upgrade chip!

  1. dimmer

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Feb 2006



    OK, so Intel pressured MS into a bad decision, and the systems ended up only able to run the basic version of Vista -- but that is still Vista, is it not? That folks bought these systems on the assumption that they'd be able to run all versions of Vista is silly.

    Still, more bucks for lawyers. Whoo!

  1. LouZer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2000


    define 'capable'

    What was that supposed to mean, anyway? That the computer was capable of running ALL features of Vista, as-is, or that it could be upgraded to run Vista with a new video card, more memory, etc?

    And where does it stop? Can you sue if the computer doesn't have a wireless network card? Because Vista supports wireless networking, then the computer isn't capable of running that feature!

    What if the computer didn't come with a 5.1 sound card? And if Vista can support the resolution of a 30" monitor, are all laptops without the capability to run a 30" monitor allowed to sue?

    And, damn it all, Apple never used the logo on their computers. We could make some money too.

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    MS Responsible

    Despite Intel's pressure, the "ultimate" decision was with Microsoft. Pressure is placed on company's all the time by their partners and suppliers. The onus is on the decision maker (MS).

    Also, this is a legitimate legal exercise. If I buy a computer and it says it can run an OS (if it is "certified"), then I trust the logo. This is not a case of buyer beware.

    The average user would not know, when the OS is new, what is truly required, so they are dependent upon MS to provide accurate info.

    One of the reasons why Vista got bad press is that many computers it was installed on were crippled by the OS.

    I run Vista 32-bit on VMWare on a Macpro with 8 gig, 3.8 gig dedicated to the guest OS. It runs fine, and has some nice features.

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