Brian Ladd’s Blog – Notes on Life

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Vista hits Microsoft where it hurts…

Ok, so now we are starting to see the full scope of the Windows Vista debacle.  When Windows Vista originally advertised and specs for it started coming out, I was all against it.  Most of Windows Vista is designed around MPAA/RIAA DRM and content control schemes.  Please keep in mind that I have very strong feelings against DRM.  I’ll post a rant about DRM some other time.  However, as a computer tech and geek worth his weight, I decided I would install and use Windows Vista for some time.  I’ve been running it on my Dell Vostro notebook for a few months now and the experience hasn’t been so bad.  It has had it’s ups and downs, but I get that with every operating system.  So Vista has been an OK experience for me so far.  Then I heard about the Microsoft class-action lawsuit based on the “Vista Ready” marketing scam.  The scam goes like this:  prior to the launch of Windows Vista, hardware was sold with a “Vista Ready” logo stuck on it.   Many times, the hardware was not up toe the minimum requirements for Vista or was just barely over the absolute baseline.  Then after Vista officially launched, a lot of people who bought the cheapest possible hardware that was “Vista Ready” found out that they couldn’t run Vista.  Shock and surprise!  Imagine that, when you buy crap computers, you can’t run an operating system like Vista on the bottom grade computer.  Now, Microsoft is facing a possible 8+ Billion dollar lawsuit.  But why worry.  Microsoft can afford it, can’t they.  Opps that’s right.  Microsoft is about to layoff 5,000 people. And let’s not forget that they just posted the first financial loss to Wall Street.   Starting to look a little grim….

Microsoft Bill For ‘Vista Capable’ Put At $8.52 Billion

By Damon Poeter, ChannelWeb
5:53 PM EST Fri. Jan. 23, 2009
Demand for PC components may have fallen off a cliff in recent weeks, but Microsoft could be forced to pony up for $8.52 billion-worth of memory and graphics cards, according to an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the ongoing “Vista Capable” class-action lawsuit.University of Washington economist Keith Leffler estimates that it would cost Microsoft between $3.92 billion and $8.52 billion to upgrade notebook and desktop PCs that the company labeled “Vista Capable” but which were not able to run the full version of the Windows Vista operating system, Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer reported Thursday.

The software giant disputes that figure as “absurdly” valued in a court filing that along with Leffler’s report was unsealed by U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman Wednesday.

Microsoft launched Windows Vista in January, 2007 following a nine-month marketing campaign with components manufacturers, computer makers and retailers. During that period, Microsoft and its partners placed “Vista Capable” labels on notebooks and desktops that while able to run the entry-level Home Basic edition of Vista, in many cases could not run more advanced versions of the operating system.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which is set for trial in April, say that because Vista Home Basic does not include features like the Aero Glass graphic user interface present on more advanced versions, the operating system shouldn’t have been called Vista in the first place. And because the “Vista Capable”-stickered computers they bought didn’t have the hardware necessary to move to versions which had those supposedly Vista-defining features, like Vista Home Premium or Vista Business, the plaintiffs say they were defrauded.

The “Vista Capable” labeling campaign began on April 1, 2006. Leffler estimates that 19.4 million PCs — 13.75 million notebooks and 5.65 million desktops — were labeled “Vista Capable,” according to the unsealed report.

Leffler came up with his total upgrade costs by calculating how much it would cost to upgrade each of the 19.4 million PCs with 1 GB of memory and graphics cards or onboard chipsets able to run Aero, according to Keizer. Leffler put the maximum cost of upgrading the desktops at $155, while positing that the notebooks’ integrated graphics would be more tricky to replace and would cost between $245 and $590 per unit. The total price tag for Microsoft would thus range from $3.92 billion to $8.52 billion and in some cases would include complete replacements of notebooks that could not be feasibly upgraded, Leffler testified.

Microsoft in its response argued that giving litigants “a free upgrade to Premium-ready PCs would provide a windfall to millions.”


January 25, 2009 - Posted by | Copyright / P2P / Law, Windows / Microsoft

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