Vista Capable scandal

Many will remember a few years back before the launch of Vista, Microsoft decided to tout some PC's as Vista capable. This seemed an innocent and easy way to boost sales but what happened is a different story.

The Vista capable idea was a genuine one at heart. It was designed to allow consumer to buy new PC's with confidence that the new computer would run the latest version of Vista when it launched. The idea was genius for Microsoft, they could sell more PC's (indirectly getting sales of the OS and software) and have consumers know they would be able to upgrade with confidence.

What happened was that Intel got in the way. Intel complained to Microsoft that the majority of its chip sets would not meet the requirement of "Vista Capable". Specifically, Microsoft set the requirement that WVDDM (Windows Vista Display Driver Model) would be required to get the affiliated branding. The problem for Intel was that their Intel i915 chip sets did not support the WVDDM. Intel claimed that this would cost them billions of dollars due to lost market share.

The true problem was that AMD was ready for WVDDM and would have been able to push its products to retailers quicker than Intel. Intel would loose a large portion of sales for being behind the WVDDM curve. So what does Microsoft do? It changes the requirement as an internal email said its only "labels on boxes".

Microsoft went ahead and made the change, supposedly Ballmer was unaware of this, to please Intel. As you can tell this made not just AMD but HP as well, very upset. HP had invested a large amount of capital to make sure that its upcoming laptops would be Vista capable. They were going to play the competitive edge that other suppliers may have backed off from. When Microsoft lowered Vista requirements it allowed all suppliers to slap the Vista logo on their laptops. HP sent several angry emails to Intel and Microsoft about the issue but the rest is history.

It's a shame that due to Intel's poor planning that this happened; its even worse that Microsoft dropped its standards on requirements to meet Intel's needs. Could all of the bad publicity around Vista been avoided if the proper "Vista Capable" hardware had been sold? The world may never know but the lawsuit behind the issue may make someone pay.

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