Microsoft dropped Vista hardware spec to raise Intel profits

According to an email sent last February by Microsoft general manager John Kalkman, the software giant lowered Windows Vista's minimum hardware requirements to ridiculous levels only because Intel needed to sell more graphics chipsets.

The email was just one of many released in response to a federal class action suit that accuses Microsoft of misleading the world with those "Windows Vista Capable" logos it slapped on new PCs in the run-up to the operating system's debut. The logos appeared on system more than nine month before the OS was unveiled.

Judging from these emails - unsealed by the court this week and spewed to the digerati by Todd Bishop of Seattle Post-Intelligencer - the case has a pretty good chance.

"In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with the 915 graphics embedded," John Kalkman wrote to Scott Di Valerio, who oversaw Microsoft's dealings with PC partners.

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i'VE POSTED MY bETA vISTA EXPERIENCE & COMPARED uLTIMATE AERO TO nt5 CUTBACK ULTIMATE in july '6. Yet I used NT5 cutback for nearly year on from then, as Aero capable machine, only model I know of that did aero & microsoft told me such in early "compatibility" testing pre july '6, was simply Vista Ultimate only mainboard & played from 2001 k6/7 mainboard with 6200 graphics card(jan'6), 4 lane card with pci 4X slot, made to do Ultimate full featured.

yet term Vista capable is just that, newer k7 machine I had w/ integrated graphics made Vista back into XP machine, yet it played just fine, while Ultimate machine was eye candy wonder, it was slow & NOT at all going to play heavy games, yet Quake played well, & quake II/III was step up for both machines, yet did that flawlessly.

So found at time having Ultimate cut itself back was OK. as Ultimate wobbled about at times on full featured machine, from fatique of all code flying thru ~360 pin celeron, yet it had open GL & all basics that Ultimate was designed around, Microsoft had to start somewhere. All of 590 chipset mainboards I tested , in spite of claiming thru Microsoft & Toms hardware To play Ultimate full featured, actually all cut Ultimate back to XP. DFI Dr/g, asus Mvp32 r deluxe, abit 8R, all failed ultimate test & prices of those mainboards fell from $350 to $85 in weeks still during RC testing.

My point is simple, EVERY MACHINE PLAYED AFTER LOADING FROM VISTA ULTIMATE DISC, NO PROBLEM, IT WAS QUALITY ISSUE, NOT ON OR OFF, YOU got same great ULTIMATE O/S & could wait for hardware to install second machine.

Now Microsoft must be picking ONE Mainboard to start developement of SEVEN. Someday in Beta, that will be only Mainboard that Seven will work upon full featured, from retail beginning Hardware is modified to fit that tap, in mean time hardware will be modified to fit Vista Ultimate comfortably & fully. Whats difference of two? well ultimate is NT6.01 & SEVEN is NT6.5001, so NOT as Great in software depatment,compared to NT5 to NT6, yet when SEVEN hits Retail, it will be much more sophisticated Hardware enviorment than today, yet 7 should play on any NT6 system.Code will be updated for specific Hardware you have chosen & it is close to say, it will be 64 bit world then, with screams from 32 bit hanger ons, who will be serviced too, with seven being LAST 32/64 bit O/s from Microsoft main trunk. Its ULTIMATE 64 BIT WORLD TODAY.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.

DonC's comments hit the nail right on the head in my view. I was going to post just about the exact same thing...except that I used to hold out for Intel to finally release some 915 drivers...I even resorted to trying to hack 915 drivers. Well, and then my Inspiron 6000 actually melted, so they shipped me a 6400 with the 945 graphics onboard. Sure they aren't great, but they run Aero.

And again, DonC said it right: Lack of RAM is the killer for most people when it comes to Vista. Honestly, running 1GB only is just cheating yourself out of usability. RAM is still cheap enough that it doesn't cost much to go grab 2 gigs of DDR2, for example. And believe me, switching from 1 gig to 2, it was like night and day. And I even had a 1GB readyboost installed beforehand too.

Everyone wants to sue so much it makes me sick. Basically these lazy people just want to sue a bigger company so they don't have to do any work. That's what it comes down to. They don't care about the tatic Microsoft took (which is wrong),
they don't care about your problems, all they care about is being one fat money hungry cow that doesn't do anything for this world except take up unnessesary space. But I do agree that that is really unfair to everyone and those misleading stickers are a disgrace.

And this is the reason that some unfortunate people have laptops with what looks like Aero effects, except they're not all working and the ones that are working are choppy.

I agree microsoft should pay for doing what they did. But we are talking about Aero here. Its over rated, its cool for about the first week then its just annoying. I'd rather have my boxes appear instantly than spending time fading it. I think I had areo turned off after 1 week.

I installed Vista RTM on my laptop, which it turned out didn't run Aero.

Was I annoyed when I found out? You bet.

Did I blame Microsoft? No.

Did I upgrade my laptop? Yes, eventually.

During that time however, I depended on the other benefits of Vista such as the Volume Shadow Copy Service and the search facility. I'll fully admit that Vista looks washed out in basic mode, but that's the price you pay for running on older hardware.

The biggest Vista killer is: Lack of RAM. This is a lot more important than your GPU.

Maybe they did wrong about 915 chipset. But in my case, i bought two laptops with 945 chipset for personal use at the same time two years and they had the Vista Capable stickers. When Vista was released i installed it on both and vista runs in all its glory. They have 1.66 core duo (not core 2 duo) and 1gb of 667 RAM.

Maybe people with 915 chipset are the ones that are upset. Chances are that many of the people suing didn't had a clue when they bought those laptops and im almost sure that they didn't even think about upgrading to vista in the near future. For those that did were thinking about upgrading actually the sue maybe right.

Also i think that manufacturers are to blame here too because they bundled (thankfully now one can opt put for this factory-installed) crapware. This is really what makes many laptops and desktops to run like turtles. Even with core 2 duos and plenty of RAM.

Interestingly my office PC (from RM here in the UK) shipped with a Vista Capable label on it - though probably only because despite its relatively high specification (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 3GB RAM) we left the default graphics card which is an onboard Intel jobbie - it since has had a 7600GS put into it.

I don't get why that would only be considered Vista Capable though? I know the GMA950 on my Mac Mini does Vista Aero ok, so surely this Intel boarded machine would be able to do the same?

I suppose if anything that just goes to backup how confusing the Vista Capable / Vista Ready scheme was, even for system builders.

Of course Intel put pressure on Microsoft. :confused: Intel would have got pressure from PC manufacturers, when they saw a dip in (Christmas) sales ; many people postponing buying a new computer, in anticipation of Vista release. :P Intel and Microsoft will have agreed what was considered Vista Capable, and Vista Ready . If the sticker had Microsoft Vista trade mark name and their recommendation that the computer was up to the job, then Microsoft have to take the can. If they choose to drag Intel and PC manufacturers into the case, that will be fine. See how quickly they will all fall out, they will loose even quicker and more heavily when the facts of the case start flying about!

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to hear the PC manufacturers saying to Intel "Well start going to AMD unless you put pressure on Microsoft".

For all those "Free Marketeers" on this sight. This is what happens when Monopolists collude! :nuts:

If you read the emails, the only "Christmas sales" that would have affected this decision were those in Christmas 2005... This decision wasn't some kind of knee-jerk reaction, it was a calculated risk by Microsoft to please Intel that backfired tremendously. I had a 915 chipset laptop at the time; that thing ran the DWM and Aero on Longhorn 4074 acceptably, yet Intel decided it couldn't cope with the Vista DWM.

There seem to be no real reasons as to why 915 never got WDDM support anyway - Intel never publicly spoke out about it, it seemed like it hit all the bars needed feature-wise. Perhaps it was just because the performance would have been so shoddy.

[Edited because I can't count.]

You sick aholes!!!!

My dad got one of those and we where confident that it would run aero. Imagine the grief I took when he did'nt get all the pretty effects!

Makes one wonder what else in the Vista marketing that was done due to other companies.

The supposed massive DirectX 10 "speed boosts" beyond the visual improvements comes to mind.

Well even xp graphics blow using the embedded graphics adapter.
A sticker that says XP capable slapped on a computer is in the same position.

Yeah, but Windows XP capable was just one sticker. Microsoft did 2 for Vista, Vista Capable (crap hardware) and Vista Ready (can run Aero). and thats the whole issue here. Very misleading.

Yeah Neobond is right, with XP you weren't losing a feature of the operating system that was a key selling point by using an embedded graphics chipset like the 915. With Vista you are (aero), and Microsoft were not clear and transparent (no pun intended) on that fact and thats the problem here.

(Neobond said @ #4.1)
Yeah, but Windows XP capable was just one sticker. Microsoft did 2 for Vista, Vista Capable (crap hardware) and Vista Ready (can run Aero). and thats the whole issue here. Very misleading.

You know, I didn't even know that. Because I build all my own computers [except for one laptop], I've never even seen one of these stickers.

Vista Capable. Vista Ready. Sounds like a BS scam to me -- and one for which Microsoft deserves to get severely beaten about the head and shoulders.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #3.1)
If you really wanna hurt Intel, go buy an AMD processor for your next PC.

Guaranteed I do JUST that, but not just because of this screw job!!

(miguel_montes said @ #3)
Please, someone sue Microsoft again!

Oh, and Intel too...

I'm going to sue them for the e8400 prices. I guess it's not really their fault but all the retailers that decided to profit off the shortage. Just like they did with the 8800s.

Oh wow, when Neowin was invited as a Featured Community to the Vista labs, I argued furiously against the idea of "Windows Vista Capable" stickers with Microsoft and even Jim Allchin. I said at the time that the label was very mis-leading after I had seen what kind of PC's were getting the sticker.

Seems I was right after all.