Microsoft accused of using deceptive marketing to tout Vista

Prior to the availability of Vista, Microsoft launched a marketing campaign that allowed PC makers to place a sticker on computers alerting potential buyers that they could upgrade to Vista when it became available. According to a lawsuit filed against Microsoft Corporation, the software giant unfairly labelled PCs as "Windows Vista Capable" even when "a large number" of the computers could only run the Home Basic Edition of the new operating system, which lacks many of the features that Microsoft advertised. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeks class action status (exceeding 10,000 people) and asks for damages (exceeding $5 million).

In addition, when Microsoft later offered buyers of "Windows Vista Capable" computers free or reduced-price upgrades to Vista, the company offered Home Basic to many customers. "In sum, Microsoft engaged in bait and switch--assuring consumers they were purchasing 'Vista Capable' machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as 'Vista'," the suit reads. Microsoft argues that it "conducted a broad effort to educate computer manufacturers, retailers and consumers about the hardware requirements to run different versions of Windows Vista," said Microsoft spokesperson Jack Evans. That program is well-documented and the information can still be found online.

News source: ComputerWorld

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I'd probably blame the manufacturer more than Microsoft. The OEM oughta know more about their own equipment than MS would. MS didn't force the OEM to put the sticker on. I'm trying this dellvistaupgrade site, mostly because good ol dell has now sent me a third model in February and since the site claims if I got the thing from Oct-March I get a free (shipping is $10) Vista Business upgrade I'm apt to try it. Everything though on the site warned it had to have at least 512 mb of ram and might not support everything. Whatever they sent me was a alot more than my old machine.
Think the 2 gb of Ram will suffice. Not sure what to do with a 512mb video card yet. But it runs Painkiller just fine and thats what counts :P

As for doing one's research from wikipedia. Sites okay, but not very trustworthy. (I'll probably ignore the piece on mullet's for now O_O )

If the OEM wants to sell Windows then as part of the agreement they have to put those designed for stickers on them.

So, not only do you not understand the near-complete rewrite of vista's driver/hardware stack or the restructuring of video / audio stack... but you have no comprehension of the story/lawsuit presented. EXTRAORDINARY!

The lawsuit's a joke. Vista capable machines are exactly that. Capable of running Vista. And I'd be willing to bet most could run Vista Home Premium if they really wanted to... but it's not zippy enough for them. After all they paid $350 for that E-Machine it should run fastlike!

Euurggh silly bitch (it's mainly one woman with bug up her ass... and it's not one from Vista).

If she is so bothered about false advertising she should go after Apple also.

As i see it its verry simple... "Windows Vista Capable" means it can/should run ALL versions of vista, in my opinion, but that is a LIE in many cases...

It should be "Windows Vista BASIC Capable" or "Windows Vista PREMIUM Capable" instead

Yeah that is misleading and a lawsuit is well in place...

wait.. you mean like vista CAPABLE and vista READY? WOW it's almost like microsoft did EXACTLY that.

Vista capable means it can run vista. (ANY version of vista. as long as Aero glass / desktop composition is turned off.)

Vista READY means it can take advantage of all the features.

Rolith said,
Vista capable means it can run vista. (ANY version of vista. as long as Aero glass / desktop composition is turned off.)

Turn off Aero glass / desktop composition on Home Premium and what you get is? Home basic...

The fact is they want to sell you premium or ultimate even if you cant run it in "ful glory" and you would get the same for less money... and they do it on purpose (with lies) just to get money from you.
That is wrong.

Kirkburn said,

Er, no.

er, yeah. Thats the main difference, plus it IS upgradeable... the only hardware restrictions are really related to glass:

The itemized list of differences is as follows:

scheduled backup
Aero glass / glass effects (flip 3d, live thumbnails, etc)
16 GB RAM max vs 8
games
media center
move maker HD support (basic does not have HD support)
DVD maker
5 max network connections vs 10
reduced windows meeting space capability
network projector support
presentation settings
tablet pc and touch screen support


Editions info:
http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winvista_02.asp

Obviously the people suing have no idea how to read. "Windows Vista Capable" never has advertised it would run Vista in all it's glory, it only means the hardware the sticker is attached too can run the "Vista core experience" and additional hardware may be needed for the full experience. I was looking at the box for a "Vista Capable" laptop today and it had a huge sticker on the side with all the small print explaining that Capable does not necessarily equal full experience.

I dont want to generalize, but how often do you get someone in a computer store advising buyers of budget PC's telling them truthfully about an operating system they themselves have probably not even used (or was even out yet) when these stickers were being placed.

All everyone saw was the fantastic glass theme and effects that can only be used on Direct X9 capable PC's.

Budget PC's usually have poor (on-board) video cards that use shared memory, so no Aero there. Ever.

For this very reason I spoke to Jim Allchin back in January. I told him then that it looked deceptive and didn't really do much good for Microsoft in the long term by advertising half assed budget PC's as "Vista Capable".

I'm not surprised this is happening and I can only hope Microsoft has learned from it.

My Samsung X60plus laptop came with a Vista Capable sticker on, Samsung have released no Vista drivers for it and it now ships with the old XP sticker on.

Not just Microsoft who are to blame here.

kravex said,
My Samsung X60plus laptop came with a Vista Capable sticker on, Samsung have released no Vista drivers for it and it now ships with the old XP sticker on.

Not just Microsoft who are to blame here.


Who else if not MS?
MS allowed Samsung to put the sticker on and MS made a full specification on how the sticker should look.

The average consumer doesn't care what he/she gets as long as it works. What I mean is the people that don't pay attention to the technical details of things, whether it's cars, computers, etc. Most people do not know something is wrong until they see it on their local news channel at 5 after they've gotten home from their overpaid job.

Home Premium or Basic isn't that bad, unless you like to play with networking stuff, such as NetWare then otherwise I would just get Ultimate, or Business/Enterprise.

Although I always been against OEMs for putting together Celeron-based POS machines with integrated graphics, I do blame the consumer for not doing their research, because don't you do a bit of research when you buy something big, like a car or a house? Computers are not change out of the pocket, of course, unless you are very rich.

Also, how many people you know that are like the above actually use stuff like the Media Center? I've never seen it yet. So I believe Home Basic is good enough to be put on those POS overpriced Celeron machines that everyone buys because they're cheaper than the Duos.

Makes me wonder who is more stupid... the guy who sued McDonald's for selling coffee without a note that it's hot, or this guy who sues Microsoft for claiming that vista basic capable computers are vista capable?

Point is, the computer sold is Vista capable, no matter how the consumer puts it. If the consumer was ignorant, it's not Microsoft's fault. I don't see how Microsoft lied, their advertising wasn't misleading if you ask me. Besides, what did Microsoft make their Windows Vista website for if nobody read it?

A web page for the ignorant: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/...ons/choose.mspx

paolo90 said,
Makes me wonder who is more stupid... the guy who sued McDonald's for selling coffee without a note that it's hot, or this guy who sues Microsoft for claiming that vista basic capable computers are vista capable?

your analogy is flawed. do u need a coffee salesman or a coffee consultant or to bring a friend who knows a lot about coffee when buying a cup of coffee from macdonald's? or, have you, as a novice drinker, ever needed to go to http://www.mcdonalds.com/coffee/products/h...ons/choose.mspx to compare for different 'editions' of coffee?

"oh sir, this coffee is hotness capable. that one is hotness ready."

On the contrary, the onus is precisely on Microsoft (and any manufacturer/advertiser) to ensure their product naming and advertising practices clearly distinguish significant and product-altering differences.

The onus is not on the consumer to become an expert in a product before purchasing. However, the level of marketplace expertise is something individual to each field. e.g. Car manufacturers can rely on the marketplace being well educated in the way their products are sold so can cut some corners by offering option packages on their cars but still calling them the same model name. McDonalds can reasonably rely on the fact that the marketplace is well aware that coffee is hot, so don't need to call their product "hot coffee". However, even their products make significant name changes where significant and product-altering differences exist. You don't see "Big Mac Premium" and "Big Mac Basic" - you see "Big Mac" and "Quarter Pounder". Why? The burgers aren't that different, but they are different enough to be significant and thus warrant different names. Sometimes here in Aus you get McDonalds offering a burger that is basically a quarter pounder with an extra layer of meat - but they don't call it "Quarter Pounder Premium", they call it a totally new name (something like "Triple Decker" or similar).

Microsoft have simply shot themselves in the foot by offering significantly different products but sticking to one naming convention.

I'll give you another example that's a bit more close to home. Here in Australia we've got a car called a Ford Falcon. It's a 4dr sedan. Like most cars, you can get a Falcon Executive (basic model), Falcon Sports (gets a spoiler and fancy exhaust) and a couple other variants. But they are all called "Falcon". Now, Ford also offer a car called a "Fairmont". It is essentially a Falcon with a whole lot of options added and a new front grille design. Why did they call that a Fairmont, and not simply "Falcon Premium"? Because there are enough significant differences to warrant a new product line. It helps customers make clear distinctions, through advertising and product knowledge. Take into account that this is in a marketplace which is well established and has a customer expertise rating second to none.

Another example? Racehorses. You don't call them "Horse Basic" and "Horse Premium", because customers would probably have no idea what that meant - a horse is a horse, right? 4 legs, runs a bit, eats grass, right? Well, you have mares, geldings, colts, fillies, stallions etc. Why? Because even though they are all essentially the same animals, there are significant differences in what you use them for.

If Microsoft had simply renamed their "Vista Premium" to something like "Glassium", people would instantly be able to tell there was a difference. Instead, having all Vistas under the same name simply produces confusion for the marketplace. The operating system market is not well established and has a low expertise customer base so the marketing should go out of its way to ensure customers don't get confused.

Regarding this lawsuit, it seems obvious that the disgruntled customers have bought hardware based on the following train of thought: I've seen Vista advertised on TV and want it -> Vista means "glassy windows" and snazziness -> This PC is labelled "Vista Ready" -> Buy this PC since it will give me "glassy windows" and snazziness. That is a reasonable and understandable train of thought as a consumer, since MS have directed most of their marketing dollars at equating the word "Vista" to the Aero interface. The very word Vista even refers to sceneries and views - i.e. a visual thing. It will now be up to a court to decide if the advertising campaign for Vista provided significant distinctions between the various capabilites of each version, enough that the average consumer off the street would be able to differentiate in their own mind between "Basic" and "Premium".

devish said,

your analogy is flawed. do u need a coffee salesman or a coffee consultant or to bring a friend who knows a lot about coffee when buying a cup of coffee from macdonald's? or, have you, as a novice drinker, ever needed to go to http://www.mcdonalds.com/coffee/products/h...ons/choose.mspx to compare for different 'editions' of coffee?

"oh sir, this coffee is hotness capable. that one is hotness ready."


It wasn't even supposed to have any analogy to it :P
Point is, they're both stupid.

As for the other post...
There was enough distinction made, what do you want them to call Vista Basic anyways? Windows XP Advance or something of the sort?

Windows Vista "Capable"... if I were a consumer, I'd ask right away why one's just "Capable" and the other's "PREMIUM Capable." Apparently, the consumers were smart enough to do an impulse buy, not Microsoft's fault they advertised their product well enough for someone to do that.

Besides, a Windows Vista Capable PC is capable of Vista no matter how anybody puts it. I may be capable of drawing, but may not be capable of drawing as good as others, like your PC may be able to run Vista, but not as good as others.

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