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Discovery on hold in 'Vista capable' lawsuit

A judge has paused a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft over the way it advertised PCs leading up to the release of Windows Vista, pending an appeal.

A lawsuit against Microsoft that's already unveiled several juicy tidbits about the company is on hold, according to Ars Technica.

In late February, a U.S. District judge in Seattle ruled that consumers could move forward with a class-action lawsuit over the manner in which Microsoft advertised computers leading up to the release of its Windows Vista operating system. Microsoft is appealing that decision, and any further disclosures will be on hold pending the review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the report.

The lawsuit revolves around customers' complaints that PCs they bought had been advertised as "Windows Vista capable," but turned out to be capable of running only the Home Basic version of Vista, which lacks the fancypants Aero graphics technology. It turns out computers needed to be "Vista Premium Ready" to run the full-blown versions of Vista. The court will need to determine whether Microsoft knowingly created confusion over the capabilities of PCs sold with these labels just before the release of Vista.

Over the course of the suit, a few salacious details have trickled out. First came an e-mail by Microsoft executive Mike Nash complaining about his own confusion over buying a laptop labeled as "Vista capable" and feeling burned when he found it couldn't run the multimedia programs he wanted. "I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine," he wrote. The lawsuit also led to the embarrassing revelation that Intel had pressured Microsoft into creating the two-tiered marketing campaign so Intel could sell its lower-end chipsets.