Vista Capable Lawsuit Loses Class-Action Status

Dennis Faas's picture

The long-running "Vista Capable" lawsuit challenging Microsoft's marketing of PCs capable of running only the most basic version of the Windows Vista operating system has reportedly lost its class-action status.

Federal judge Marsha Pechman decertified the class-action lawsuit, saying that plaintiffs had failed to show that consumers paid more for PCs with the "Vista Capable" label than they would have otherwise.

Judge Pechman deemed that instead of quantifying a specific change in demand for PCs because of the marketing program, an expert witness for the plaintiffs relied on internal Microsoft documents that described the goals of the program. (Source:

Judge Pechman ruled that the problem with the expert's conclusion is that it merely assumes that Microsoft realized its goals and the court cannot apply an assumption as class-wide proof of causation.

Lawsuits To Continue On Case-by-Case Basis

She wrote that "this ruling makes no comment on the merits or veracity of Plaintiffs' individual (Consumer Protection Act) and unjust enrichment claims," and that the Defendant (Microsoft) is mistaken to equate Plaintiffs' failure to provide class-wide proof of causation with a failure to present an issue for trial. (Source:

In attempting to dismiss the case, Microsoft contended that they made it clear to consumers what version of Vista the "Vista Capable" PCs could run. Microsoft's request to dismiss the case was denied by Judge Pechman, ruling that Microsoft's argument misses the issue.

Judge Pechman said the plaintiffs could continue with the lawsuit on a case-by-case basis.

The judgement is a victory for Microsoft, which could have faced major damages in a class-action lawsuit. Consumers spent an estimated $1.5 billion on PCs with the "Vista Capable" label.

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