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Nov 18 2008   11:37AM GMT

Vista-capable suit highlights PC power rifts

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

The class action suit filed over Microsoft’s discredited “Vista Capable” hardware claims has brought to light quite the sordid saga.

 TechFlash recounts the epic very well here. The tale shows just how much vendors will do to protect themselves and their very “best” partners at the expense of the rest of their partners and, oh yeah, their customers.  Some remember very well the claims that Microsoft execs made about Vista Capable machines. That even a big chunk of legacy PCs (or at least the not-newest PCs) would run Vista fairly well. It sounded too good to be true then and sure enough it was.

Microsoft is still digging itself out of the ensuing Vista mess. Mojave hasn’t helped. Neither have the other lame ads. And the company now faces the prospect of a whole new class of hot machines, Netbooks, that will also bypass Vista. Instead, it looks like the tried-and-true Windows XP and then Windows 7 are the Microsoft OSes of choice to run on these machines.

Notable in the court filings were emails that show just how upset even some at Microsoft were when the company decided to declare an older Intel chipset as “Vista Capable.” to his credit, Jim Allchin at least tried to stem the tide. In a Feb.1, 2006 email to CEO Steve Ballmer, Allchin wrote:

“am beyond being upset here.

This was totally mismanaged by Intel and Microsoft.

What a mess.

Now we have an upset partner, Microsoft destroyed credibility, as well as my own credibility shot.”

HP, one of Microsoft’s other best partners, was enraged by the move because t had busted its hump to build truly Vista-capable machines only to be sandbagged. It ended up competing with lower-end, and lesser machines, that could claim the same designation. 

The whole thing brings to mind how a former Forrester analyst used to refer to Microsoft and Intel. He called them “the evil twins of the PC monopoly.”


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