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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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