Microsoft Found to be Vista Culpable

On Tuesday, a US District Court judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Microsoft, which alleges that the company's "Windows Vista Capable" program is deceptive. Judge Marsha Pechman ruled that the plaintiff's case could go forward, though she withheld judgment on two of the four issues raised by Microsoft.

The widely reported case started in November 2006, when a Camano Island woman named Dianne Kelley purchased a new PC that was branded with a sticker labeled "Windows Vista Capable." However, the machine was only capable of running the most basic version of Vista, called Vista Home Basic, which does not include access to the fancy graphical effects that Microsoft promotes so heavily when discussing the new OS. Kelley then sued Microsoft for misrepresenting the capabilities needed to run Vista.

Microsoft instituted the Vista Capable program in 2006 in a bid to revive PC sales, which had slowed in the ramp-up to Vista's release. The program was designed to assure PC buyers that their XP-based machines were capable of running Vista too.

Kelley is attempting to have her lawsuit certified as a class action, which would involve a far wider range of users stung by the vaguely worded sticker and program. Microsoft argued that the Vista Capable program did not constitute a legal warranty, but that is one of two issues Judge Pechman will resolve later. The case is schedule to go to court over a year from now, in October 2008.

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