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Vista logo suit denied class action status

updated 11:10 pm EST, Wed February 18, 2009

Vista Suit Denied Class

A late ruling has been made today in the lawsuit over Microsoft's allegedly misleading Vista Capable logo that may hand a win to Microsoft. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman has removed the class action status from the lawsuit under the claim that plaintiffs haven't demonstrated that a "specific shift" in demand was created for Windows Vista PCs by giving underperforming systems the logo; they therefore can't prove that Microsoft intended to mislead all PC buyers rather than just the individuals who began the suit.

University of Washington economics professor Dr. Leffler's testimony is cited as a particularly key example of the problem by Judge Pechman in a 17-page statement obtained by the Seattle Times. Instead of performing an analysis of the likely number of customers deceived by the low requirements for the Vista Capable sticker, the expert witness instead relied on Microsoft's internal goals and has inferred that Microsoft achieved its broader goal instead of providing research that backs the notion of widespread misinformation. The judge had estimated that more conclusive signs would have had Microsoft owe as much as $8.5 billion in damages under certain circumstances.

Judge Pechman also cites the absence of clear evidence that other factors didn't contribute to any increase in sales, such as discounted pricing or other promotional campaigns.

The lawsuit hasn't been dismissed outright and is ultimately credited with having particularly condemning evidence against Microsoft, such as internal company e-mail from then Windows chief Jim Allchin that showed a high-level awareness of the program's likelihood of misleading customers. Intel is known to have pressured Microsoft executives into dropping requirements for Vista Capable even though the software developer was aware it would result in sluggish performance and missing features. As such, Judge Pechman has tossed out a request by Microsoft for a summary judgment in its favor that would have dismissed the case in Microsoft's favor.

However, the removal of class action status greatly diminishes the likelihood of a formal start to the trial in April through its effect on the maximum damages. As most customers can at best claim damages based on the value of the Vista Capable PCs that were improperly bought, the total value of any successful case is unlikely to be higher than for the court costs, which may run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Plaintiff attorney Jeffrey Thomas hasn't immediately signaled a withdrawal but notes that the legal team is "reviewing the options" before it considers either pushing ahead or else forfeiting the case.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. rtbarry

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -6

    99% of class actions...

    ...are horseshit. so is this.

  1. garmonbosia

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002

    0

    99% of statistics....

    are made up on the spot. So is yours.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    So...

    you don't do your homework, get screwed, and then want to sue someone. "What, you mean it is capable of running Vista, just not all the bells and whistles? I'm suing!"

    I'm just shocked that the judge denied the class status. I guess the next 52 suits will try to get the status.

  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004

    +2

    re: 99%

    "Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, rtbarry. 14% of people know that."

    -- Homer Simpson

    :)

  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -3

    Do some Research

    testudo's right on the first point...So, you buy a "Vista Capable" system, then complain that it sucks? Vista is from Microsoft, isn't suckiness a standard Microsoft feature for all their products?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    class action

    rtbarry, you almost got it right. The actual statistic is "99% of class actions against are horseshit", because we know its just a money grab.

    For other companies, though, they're much more legitimate.

  1. Chimpur

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2009

    +1

    Vista capable

    Well its all in the wording. Vista capable. Means it can run vista. Not amazing, maybe not even well! But had the logo said "Windows Vista High Performance" then it would lead you to believe that the computer ran vista really well. The real problem here is that people want to buy cheap computers that wont last. They dont know how to upgrade them either. If you buy a quality computer, with a quality OS you'd have a Mac. And the problem would be solved.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +2

    BS

    How could the judge come to the conclusion that MS was targeting the plaintiffs directly, and not the public at large with their misleading marketing material? Whether or not you think that "Vista Capable" should mean that all the features of Vista are supported, it must take head-up-the-rear syndrome to make the argument that Microsoft was only misleading the particular individuals that filed the suit.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    Re: BS

    The judge did NOT come to that conclusion. It was the plaintiff who did NOT prove that the marketing actually affected enough people to warrant a class-action.

    You know, you can't just walk into a courtroom and say "This should have class-action status" and get it.

    Of course, if all they want to do is sue, I'm sure even if it had 'all the features', they'd be complaining because it was slower than XP, or some such nonsense (what? A new OS slower than the last? Say it ain't so!).

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