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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43 Comments

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What I stated was that MS was sowing what it reaped. I was one of the many persons who purchased a PC thinking (well it has the MS Windows Vista Capable badge) It must be a safe bet. I don't think that it's too much to ask a company as well known as MS to stand behind there statement, that there product will work on a PC I just purchased because of there endorsement.

Luckily I purchased an HP Pavilion a1610n (there were two models an Intel (a1610in) and AMD 64 live! (a1610n) I opted for the AMD Model as it was much faster and cheaper at the time of purchase). Had I purchased the Intel model I would have been very unhappy as I remember reading that the Intel model had a few issues running Vista.

I believe the key words in this news article are:
"allow consumer to buy new PC's with confidence that the new computer would run the latest version of Vista when it launched" and "have consumers know they would be able to upgrade with confidence."
Not being able to run aero (as it was one of there major selling points for vista) is just not acceptable.

This is an Epic Fail on MS part and they should be held accountable for this.

Redant751 said,
I believe the key words in this news article are:
"allow consumer to buy new PC's with confidence that the new computer would run the latest version of Vista when it launched" and "have consumers know they would be able to upgrade with confidence."
Not being able to run aero (as it was one of there major selling points for vista) is just not acceptable.

This is an Epic Fail on MS part and they should be held accountable for this.


I believe you are dead on!

Aero was supposed to be one of the major selling points, even if it is one of the worst parts of Vista, just because you practically need a super computer to use it, and one of the reason s to this day yet, that Vista is such a POS!!

Suppose Microsoft had *not* knuckled under to Intel (remember, most laptops/notebooks, both then and now, featured Intel chipsets and graphics, as did most corporate desktops)? While even Intel admits the issue was primarily the infamous 915E chipset (an entry-level desktop chipset), didn't Intel also have a *portables* chipset based on the 915E (which is itself a derivative of the even older 845G)? The problem had gotten so bad (for Intel) that they had made a deal with ATI (then in the process of being acquired by AMD) for graphics chipsets for their own motherboards. (At the time, while Core had shipped, Core2 had not, so Intel had plenty of issues.) Horking off your biggest IHV (which Intel was then, and is today) tends to get you put out of business pretty darn quickly, which both Intel and Microsoft knew (isn't this the same Microsoft which created, and then shipped, Windows Millenium Edition over the vociferous objections of most of their user base almost entirely to please their IHVs, and then compounded the error by following up with XP Home Edition, which had a ****-poor base security model, even compared to XP Professional Edition?) In other words, I am far from surprised.

At that time, Microsoft was still largely in *please the IHVs* mode (which actually getting Vista out the door would help break them of), but they had been in that mode since the death of Neptune (the killed consumer version of Windows 2000, and the OS they really should have shipped instead of Windows ME). Aero needing a supercomputer was an absolutely ******** comment, considering that both AMD and nVidia were ready with supporting parts (in nVidia's casde, it was the GeForce Go 6 series, and in ATI's case, it was a mobile derivative of the already-Aero-capable R300); Microsoft's dilemma is that ATI and nVidia *together* don't ship as many chipsets (not even graphics chipsets, when including integrated graphics) as Intel, the chipset Goliath. (If I'm not mistaken, the X.org consortium just did a similar knuckle-under (to Intel) over the foundation of graphics in Linux/BSD/UNIX; pot, meet kettle!) Intel threw its weight around, and Microsoft was forced to blink.....and this is surprising *how*?

PGHammer said,
...
(If I'm not mistaken, the X.org consortium just did a similar knuckle-under (to Intel) over the foundation of graphics in Linux/BSD/UNIX; pot, meet kettle!) Intel threw its weight around, and Microsoft was forced to blink.....and this is surprising *how*?

I believe you are mistaken.

There is no "Linux Compatible" or "Compiz Capable" certification.

Since you put forth the point of X.org knuckling under to Intel, the onus is upon you to put forth some evidence that supports advertised features being removed to lower the standards in Intel's behalf.

PGHammer said,
Suppose Microsoft had *not* knuckled under to Intel (remember, most laptops/notebooks, both then and now, featured Intel chipsets and graphics, as did most corporate desktops)? While even Intel admits the issue was primarily the infamous 915E chipset (an entry-level desktop chipset), didn't Intel also have a *portables* chipset based on the 915E (which is itself a derivative of the even older 845G)? The problem had gotten so bad (for Intel) that they had made a deal with ATI (then in the process of being acquired by AMD) for graphics chipsets for their own motherboards. (At the time, while Core had shipped, Core2 had not, so Intel had plenty of issues.) Horking off your biggest IHV (which Intel was then, and is today) tends to get you put out of business pretty darn quickly, which both Intel and Microsoft knew (isn't this the same Microsoft which created, and then shipped, Windows Millenium Edition over the vociferous objections of most of their user base almost entirely to please their IHVs, and then compounded the error by following up with XP Home Edition, which had a ****-poor base security model, even compared to XP Professional Edition?) In other words, I am far from surprised.

At that time, Microsoft was still largely in *please the IHVs* mode (which actually getting Vista out the door would help break them of), but they had been in that mode since the death of Neptune (the killed consumer version of Windows 2000, and the OS they really should have shipped instead of Windows ME). Aero needing a supercomputer was an absolutely ******** comment, considering that both AMD and nVidia were ready with supporting parts (in nVidia's casde, it was the GeForce Go 6 series, and in ATI's case, it was a mobile derivative of the already-Aero-capable R300); Microsoft's dilemma is that ATI and nVidia *together* don't ship as many chipsets (not even graphics chipsets, when including integrated graphics) as Intel, the chipset Goliath. (If I'm not mistaken, the X.org consortium just did a similar knuckle-under (to Intel) over the foundation of graphics in Linux/BSD/UNIX; pot, meet kettle!) Intel threw its weight around, and Microsoft was forced to blink.....and this is surprising *how*?

What I stated was that MS was sowing what it reaped. I was one of the many persons who purchased a PC thinking “well it has the MS Windows Vista Capable badge” It must be a safe bet. I don't think that it's too much to ask a company as wellknown as MS to stand behind stand behind a statement of fact that there product will work on a PC I just purchased.

Luckily I purchased an HP Pavilion a1610n (there were two models an Intel (a1610in) and AMD 64 live!(a1610n) I opted for the AMD Model as it was much faster and cheaper at the time of purchase). Had I purchased the Intel model I would have been very unhappy as I remember reading that the Intel model had a few issues running Vista.

markjensen said,

I believe you are mistaken.

There is no "Linux Compatible" or "Compiz Capable" certification.

Since you put forth the point of X.org knuckling under to Intel, the onus is upon you to put forth some evidence that supports advertised features being removed to lower the standards in Intel's behalf.


I am referring *speficially* to the change that resulted in the death of DRI2 (because in the change in graphical memory manager from the AMD/ATI/nV-sponsored GEM to the Intel-sponsored TTM).
Considering that not only was GEM written mostly by ATI before the acquisition process by AMD started, and that nV had no problem with GEM (since when, especially when it comes to open-source, do ATI and nVidia agree on anything?), and that GEM was far more fleshed-out than TTM, why was GEM killed?

Sooooooo is there any proof of this? No source, no references, just a write up? How do we know this is what actually happened?

And even if it is true, so what?!?! If Vista Capable computers are still in fact, capable of running Vista, what's the problem?

Proof? Like the court-released evidence provided by Microsoft? With Microsoft's own words documented therein?

Yeah... pretty flimsy, if you ask me.

This is to those comments about business and consumers - but businesses are all about making money and if they can screw the consumers over in some ways without too large of a risk lthen they will do it. If you ask - where are the ethics? Well, business ethics talk about causing the least "harm" to consumers but in reality if you think about it - it's about them deciding what is the maximum level of risk they will accept whether that is the possibility of a lawsuit or business lost vs. profit gains.

Money will always matter because that's why we work and that's how we achieve materialistic wealth. We would not be where we are e.g. technological wise without this concept of money.

I think what Microsoft did in the Vista development was nothing short of disgraceful. Wintel all over again and the management of Longhorn was **** poor. I am glad they have someone like Sinofsky in charge even if he has killed the leaks. At least Windows 7 will be decent.

Windows 7 will be Vista with mostly UI changes. If you think Vista is whatever-poor you'll think the same of 7. I've found pretty much nothing wrong with Vista.

Cream said the management of Vista was crappy. And it was handled poorly. People left the company (forced to?) because of it.

7 seems to be going in a better direction - more modular to be able to be better customized to fit each individual consumer's needs.

I still think that this whole lawsuit is ridiculous.

Vista does run on Vista Capable machines. It runs fine. You only miss Aero, Movie Maker, and a couple of features in Photo Gallery, but this is made clear, it wasn't a secret.

It's just another instance of people suing Microsoft and hoping to get a settlement. It's certainly not a scandal.

Microsoft deliberately misled consumers. Not only that but it did so against the wishes of Jim Allchin, the guy is charge of Vista's development. Microsoft screwed over HP and other OEMs to appease Intel, all to the detriment of the consumer.

People were buying computers under the illusion that they'd support Vista Aero, the main advertised feature of the operating system, only to find out they couldn't. Many of those people would have either waited or spent more on the computer if they knew the reality.

Microsoft doesn't just accidentally make moves like this. Plenty of lawsuits are just about money but I believe this one is entirely justified.

the ONLY reason for this to "surface" now, is that there are no real interesting news out there, so someone slaps a new angle on an old case:p this is anti-news :p

(put thanks for posting

creamhackered said,
Umm it's not an "old case", the internal emails between Steve Ballmer and Jim Allchin were only revealed recently...
uhm... have to read some more on the topic then

morphen said,
uhm... have to read some more on the topic then :p



The suit was filed a long time ago ( a year maybe?) but it was very recent that a judge ordered the docs to be public and thats where the information came from

Interesting.
Just goes to show that they're not really looking after the consumer, but more concerned about their pockets.

barteh said,
Interesting.
Just goes to show that they're not really looking after the consumer, but more concerned about their pockets.


What business isn't?

RAID 0 said,

What business isn't?


The business that actually cares about its consumers... Unfortunately, I have yet to find such a business. They're too busy trying to get rich and stay rich... I'm dreaming of the day that money no longer matters.

rpgfan said,

The business that actually cares about its consumers... Unfortunately, I have yet to find such a business. They're too busy trying to get rich and stay rich... I'm dreaming of the day that money no longer matters.

Oh please, this was just a marketing mistake...period. You can say the same thing about EVERY company out there. People/companies make mistakes...get over it. I am sure if this whole compatible thing didnt happen, someone else would find something to bitch about.

rpgfan said,

The business that actually cares about its consumers... Unfortunately, I have yet to find such a business. They're too busy trying to get rich and stay rich... I'm dreaming of the day that money no longer matters.

There are a bunch of companies that cater to the consumer. Once such company is Credit Unions. They could not function with their members and all the money in the CU is the members, not the CUs. So if CUs didnt cater to the members then they would be out of business.

There are other non for profit and not for profit companies that cares about their customers. No to mention all the open source software companies....

techbeck said,

There are a bunch of companies that cater to the consumer. Once such company is Credit Unions. They could not function with their members and all the money in the CU is the members, not the CUs. So if CUs didnt cater to the members then they would be out of business.

There are other non for profit and not for profit companies that cares about their customers. No to mention all the open source software companies....

Right, companies that are NOT interested in making a profit... Any other company would act as MS did. Rightfully or not, they are out to save themselves, so I can't really blame them.

LordJTC said,

Right, companies that are NOT interested in making a profit... Any other company would act as MS did. Rightfully or not, they are out to save themselves, so I can't really blame them.

True, and Apple is out to save themselves and make money as well..why their stuff is so expensive. But hey, one this that is great is our right to choose what products you buy. So if people dont like a company because they think they dont care about their customers, then there are several other options for them.

To be fair, these newly released documents from the court show that Microsoft played hardball with other OEMs, then knuckled into Intel and lowered the standards for them. And even internal emails show that co-president Jim Allchin identified this decision to allow PC manufacturers to label machines not capable of running all of Windows Vista's features as Vista Capable "terrible" and "misleading".

It shows that Microsoft knew it was misleading, and they played favorites to do so.

Is this calculated deception bad enough to get a judgment against them in court? That is yet to be seen.

markjensen said,
To be fair, these newly released documents from the court show that Microsoft played hardball with other OEMs, then knuckled into Intel and lowered the standards for them. And even internal emails show that co-president Jim Allchin identified this decision to allow PC manufacturers to label machines not capable of running all of Windows Vista's features as Vista Capable "terrible" and "misleading".

It shows that Microsoft knew it was misleading, and they played favorites to do so.

Is this calculated deception bad enough to get a judgment against them in court? That is yet to be seen.

Its not MS fault that Intel wasnt up to snuff. They were behind in their development and poor planning. I feel sorry for MS, or any other company, that are escape goats for morons. For AMD, a company that is supposedly worse than Intel, to be up to code says more about Intel that MS. Yea, AMD and HP are ****ed at MS, but if they didnt bow to Intel then Intel would be ****ed. Its a no win situation.

Compatible means that the software will work on older/other machines. Vista works on the compatible machines just fine cept in a few cases you done get the transparency of Aero. Big deal.

techbeck said,
Its not MS fault that Intel wasnt up to snuff. They were behind in their development and poor planning. I feel sorry for MS, or any other company, that are escape goats for morons. For AMD, a company that is supposedly worse than Intel, to be up to code says more about Intel that MS. Yea, AMD and HP are ****ed at MS, but if they didnt bow to Intel then Intel would be ****ed. Its a no win situation.

Compatible means that the software will work on older/other machines. Vista works on the compatible machines just fine cept in a few cases you done get the transparency of Aero. Big deal.


I don't recall saying that Microsoft was responsible for Intel's hardware issues.... Let me look over my post again.

Nope. Didn't say it. Didn't imply it. All I said is that Microsoft knew that Intel's hardware did not meet their requirements for "Vista Capable", so Microsoft changed their requirements at the suffering of the consumer.

techbeck said,
I feel sorry for MS, or any other company, that are escape goats for morons.

Beware those escaping goats! :)

I think you mean scapegoat not escape goat

markjensen said,

I don't recall saying that Microsoft was responsible for Intel's hardware issues.... Let me look over my post again.

Nope. Didn't say it. Didn't imply it. All I said is that Microsoft knew that Intel's hardware did not meet their requirements for "Vista Capable", so Microsoft changed their requirements at the suffering of the consumer.


Didnt say you did and I apologize if I implied that. The article, not you, that was posted at the top of this page states that Intel had poor planning. Microsoft changed their requirements to make Intel happy and in turn ****ed of AMD and HP that were ready. If Intel had thier **** together, then this wouldnt be an issue.

markjensen said,
To be fair, these newly released documents from the court show that Microsoft played hardball with other OEMs, then knuckled into Intel and lowered the standards for them. And even internal emails show that co-president Jim Allchin identified this decision to allow PC manufacturers to label machines not capable of running all of Windows Vista's features as Vista Capable "terrible" and "misleading".

It shows that Microsoft knew it was misleading, and they played favorites to do so.

Is this calculated deception bad enough to get a judgment against them in court? That is yet to be seen.


They'll be fined. Consumers will get ignored ...like nothing happend.

techbeck said,
Didnt say you did and I apologize if I implied that.
...

You are entirely correct. When you quoted me, it seemed that your post was in response to and to contradict my post.

I see now that your post may quote mine for reference, but yours also stands alone, and isn't saying that I claimed one way or the other, either...

My apologies.

techbeck said,

Its not MS fault that Intel wasnt up to snuff. They were behind in their development and poor planning. I feel sorry for MS, or any other company, that are escape goats for morons. For AMD, a company that is supposedly worse than Intel, to be up to code says more about Intel that MS. Yea, AMD and HP are ****ed at MS, but if they didnt bow to Intel then Intel would be ****ed. Its a no win situation.

Compatible means that the software will work on older/other machines. Vista works on the compatible machines just fine cept in a few cases you done get the transparency of Aero. Big deal.

It's doesn't really mater if it's MS fault or not.

MS allowed Vista Capable logo to appear on machines that was not quite capable of running vista in all its glory.

I know a girl who bought one of these computers and after a while she asked me to install his old XP copy that was installed on his previous computer.

What does capable means ? The court will have to answer this. In the video games market capable means the game runs on lowest quality settings. But it has always been this way for video games. For OS it may not be that clear for the consumers.

Who do you call Morons actually ? People who bought a PC with Windows Vista Capable logo and was dissapointed to see that this PC could not run Aero and decided to fill a lawsuit against the company who ultimetely, no matter how you turn this, is responible for this logo to appear on their new computers ? I hope not.

I like Microsoft. I legally own Microsoft product. I own a legal full copy of Vista Home Premium (not corporate crap). I own a 360. I would own Office if the price of the standard version would not be so ridiculous.

But on many aspects MS just did drop the ball with Vista. You can blame companies that did not have drivers ready. You can blame Intel for the Vista Capable logo fiasco. But there's no smoke without fire. Too much things went wrong with Vista for MS to not have at least one thing to blame themselve for. BTW i'm still waiting for some Gadgets support. I heard MS will remove Gadgets from Windows 7. Can't say i'm surprised and at the price i paid Vista i'm actually dissapointed with the lack of proper Gadgets support.

markjensen said,

You are entirely correct. When you quoted me, it seemed that your post was in response to and to contradict my post.

I see now that your post may quote mine for reference, but yours also stands alone, and isn't saying that I claimed one way or the other, either...

My apologies.

No big deal...I do the same things sometimes so its all good