A Washington State woman has filed a class action suit against Microsoft, complaining that the PC she bought with a "Windows Vista Capable" sticker on it can't run a full version of the Vista operating system.
Microsoft's Vista comes in multiple versions, ranging from a bare-bones home basic version to Vista Ultimate, which includes eye-catching features like the "Aero" interface, Media Center PC technology and Flip 3D window-switching.
Lawyers for Dianne Kelley argue that because Windows Vista Home Basic lacks many of the fancy features showcased in Microsoft's marketing campaign, the company engaged in false advertising.
"In sum, Microsoft engaged in bait and switch--assuring consumers they were purchasing 'Vista Capable' machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as 'Vista,'" the complaint says.
Bloggers were not entirely sympathetic to the suit, since the PC can run a version of Vista, if not the most elaborate version. But many argued that Microsoft essentially brought the problem on itself by coming out with multiple versions that were sure to confuse prospective buyers.
Blog community response:
"There's no denying that Vista Basic is in many ways just a slight upgrade over XP, and that the multiple versions of Vista are expensive and unnecessarily complicated, but from how it looks right now, it's hard to see the suit going too far."
"Because we here at CG are Microsoft shills, it's hard for us to badmouth the mother ship but this was our complaint from the start. All these ridiculous versions--Basic, Ultimate, Penultimate, Super Duper--just frustrate the bored and litigious. Make everything Ultimate, make everyone buy a new PC, and suck up the loss in low-end sales."
"From the moment I revealed how Microsoft planned to spam users with an unprecedented number of Windows Vista product versions, I decried this plan as too complex, both for users and the companies that would have to support them. Mac users rightfully point to Apple's single Mac OS X SKU for client machines as an example of how to keep things simple and consumer-friendly, and while I agree that some product differentiation is OK, Microsoft is out of control. Obviously."
--Paul Thurott's Internet Nexus