Internal MS Documents Suggest Vista Isn't Vista

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently unsealed documents relating to the ongoing "Vista Capable" class-action lawsuit revealed that a group within Microsoft recommended in 2005 that the lowest-priced version of Windows Vista be released without the "Vista" name due to concerns over "user product expectations."

The lawsuit claims that Microsoft misled consumers with its "Vista Capable" marketing program in the months leading up to the January 2007 release of Windows Vista. Part of the allegations in the lawsuit contend that Windows Vista Home Basic is not the "real" Vista because it lacks the 'Aero' user interface. (Source:

The unsealed documents were filed by the plaintiffs on December 8, 2008, but were not released to the public until recently. The documents show that "the recommendation of the Windows Product Management Group was that Home Basic should 'carry the Windows brand alone without the Vista generation name,'" and cited an internal Microsoft email obtained as part of the legal discovery process. (Source:

The Microsoft group reportedly said that ditching "Vista" from the Home Basic edition would "better align user product expectations to the high visibility innovations uniquely present in the Windows Vista premium versions." (Source:

Plaintiffs in the ongoing case also said the decision to drop Vista from the Home Basic nameplate was affirmed by a strong endorsement from top OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturer) partners, specifically mentioning that Dell Inc., the world's No. 2 PC seller, agreed with the idea.

Microsoft relaxed the hardware rules for Vista Capable in early 2006 so that PCs using older graphic chipsets made by Intel could qualify for the program. Those chipsets were unable to run the Aero interface.

Microsoft has repeatedly denied that it duped consumers, saying that "from the perspective of computer code and development, a jury could only conclude that Windows Vista Home Basic fairly belongs within the Windows Vista family" in response. (Source:

Microsoft argues that it's allowed to decide what it calls its products, how it defines individual editions, and what price to charge.

The court will hear oral arguments from both sides in the case before deciding whether to grant a pair of motions that Microsoft made in November when it asked that the class-action lawsuit be dropped. The lawsuit is currently scheduled for trial beginning in April.

Visit Bill's Links and More for more great tips, just like this one!

Rate this article: 
No votes yet