December 2006 was a great time to buy a new computer. Intel and AMD had some great choices in the market, and you could buy the XP OEM experience with the knowledge that if the computer was certified "Windows Vista Capable," you could easily upgrade. There were many computers that shipped with upgrade certificates, entitling the consumer to reduced cost upgrades.
If you purchased in December 2006 and wanted XP, life was good. But if you were one of the many who purchased with thoughts of Vista in your future, the experience was, at the very least, a mixed bag.
On Feb. 22, a Seattle judge determined that consumers may move ahead with a class-action suit against Microsoft over how it advertised computers with XP as capable of running Vista.
Judge Marsha Pechman determined that a Vista Capable machine would have to be capable of running more than a bare-bones Vista Home Basic edition without the Aero interface.
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
At a hearing two weeks ago, lawyers for Microsoft argued that because each consumer who bought a computer touted as "Windows Vista Capable" had different information at the time of purchase, the lawsuit should not be granted class-action status, while plaintiffs' lawyers said that all individuals who bought "Windows Vista Capable" PCs were united in that "each person in our class did not get what they paid for."
In her ruling, Judge Marsha Pechman granted class-action status, stating that "common issues predominate."
"These common issues ... are whether Vista Home Basic, in truth, can fairly be called 'Vista' and whether Microsoft's 'Windows Vista Capable' marketing campaign inflated demand market-wide for 'Windows Vista Capable' PCs," she wrote.
At the same time, though, Pechman narrowed the basis on which plaintiffs could move forward with their claims.
For instance, she said that the plaintiffs could not pursue a class-action lawsuit on the basis that consumers had been deceived because "an individualized analysis is necessary to determine what role Microsoft's 'Windows Vista Capable' marketing program played in each class members' purchasing decision."
However, she said it was appropriate for plaintiffs to argue as a class that Microsoft had artificially inflated demand — and prices — for computers only capable of running Vista Home Basic by marketing them as "Windows Vista Capable."
Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans stated that Microsoft is "currently reviewing the court's ruling."
- Judge OKs suit over ‘Vista Capable' (CNET)
- Microsoft faces class-action lawsuit for touting "junk" PCs as "Vista capable" (InfoWorld)
- Vista Capable suit gets class action status (Digital Trends)
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