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Microsoft Moves To Quash Case, End E-mail Revelations

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the gentlemen-do-not-open-each-other's-email dept.

The Courts 158

CWmike writes "Microsoft asked a federal judge yesterday to end the class-action lawsuit that has been the source of a treasure trove of embarrassing insider e-mails covering everything from managers badmouthing Intel to others on who worried how Vista would be compared to Apple's Mac OS X in 2005. In seeking to end the case, Microsoft argues the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the lowest-priced version of Windows Vista was not the 'real' Vista, or showed that users paid more for PCs prior to the new operating system's launch because of the Vista Capable campaign."

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158 comments

Don't Let This Die (0, Redundant)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859823)

Someone has to take a stand against this idiot corporation...we were taken for a ride for Windows ME, don't let them get away with this piece of shit called Vista. My next computer will be a Mac. Fuck you Gates and Ballmer.

Re:Don't Let This Die (5, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859847)

Your obvious bias aside, this is a court case that is trying to prove that Microsoft has misled customers to their detriment. They haven't yet tried to prove there is any detriment to the consumer, and are struggling to prove that they were being deliberately misleading.

I'm not sure why you'd think going to Apple would be any better. You get the exact same business tactics, just a slightly more stylish computer.

Re:Don't Let This Die (5, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859967)

Your obvious bias aside, this is a court case that is trying to prove that Microsoft has misled customers to their detriment. They haven't yet tried to prove there is any detriment to the consumer, and are struggling to prove that they were being deliberately misleading.

I'm usually not one to jump on the Anti-Microsoft hype machine (I don't think Vista is nearly as bad as people say it is - I use Vista 64-bit at work and it's great). But it *does* require a machine with a bit of horsepower to run it well. It's pretty obvious that Microsoft was willing to sacrifice a few customers to stay in good graces with Intel. Are you going to tell me that a consumer who purchased a machine with a "Vista-ready" sticker would seriously have expected or understood that it could only run the most basic version of Vista?

As shallow as it may seem to some, interface is big part of the computing experience. A consumer is going to be reminded of the fact that they have a "sub-standard" version of the OS every time they look at their screen. I know it would bother me, especially if it was sold under false pretenses.

Re:Don't Let This Die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860217)

Are you going to tell me that a consumer who purchased a machine with a "Vista-ready" sticker would seriously have expected or understood that it could only run the most basic version of Vista?

If they informed themselves, yes. Even before RTM of Vista, Beta versions very widely available, even through official channels for end users. The documentation for the Vista-Capable logos are also out there, for download directly from Microsoft.

Of course, this all assumes that the people who purchased such a machine actually had the technical knowledge on how to plan for an OS upgrade, which doesn't really fit "consumer" - i don't know anyone i would describe as an IT consumer that can do OS upgrades.

Re:Don't Let This Die (3, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860529)

Is Microsoft going to defend itself by insinuating that little old ladies should have informed themselves by reading reviews of beta software, rather than by reading the label and believing what the clueless Best Buy drone told her?

I hope so. That is a court case I would watch.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862137)

Now I picture one of those TV Court rooms with Judge Judy or the like yelling at the Microsoft person.

Re:Don't Let This Die (4, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860569)

Are you going to tell me that a consumer who purchased a machine with a "Vista-ready" sticker would seriously have expected or understood that it could only run the most basic version of Vista?

In January 2007, I bought such a "Vista Capable" computer and I'm usually not the one to defend Microsoft. However, on the box of the machine there was a sticker saying "Vista Capable", but the text next to it clearly identified the fact that it wouldn't run Aero and that it will be Vista Home Basic at best. [Relevant Journal Entry [slashdot.org] ]. It was very clear to me: I can read....

That said, that machine was never meant to run a Microsoft product. The preloaded version of Windows XP MCE (the journal entry says Windows XP Home, but I was wrong), lived on it for a few months and then made place to Ubuntu.

Yes, indeed, just going by the sticker was quite misleading.... Actually reading the fine print was not. But then, I am a computer Geek and did understand what the fine print said.

Re:Don't Let This Die (5, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860965)

anyone who's been reading Slashdot since "Longhorn" started development would know that Microsoft had always intended for Vista to have different levels of UI capabilities depending on the hardware it is running on. that's not news to anyone here, and even without the fine print most Slashdotters wouldn't equate the "Vista Capable/Ready" sticker with "Aero Capable."

however, and this is a pretty big however, we're not the average consumer. unless you're a tech geek, you're not going to know these details about Vista, or know what Aero even is. just like unless you're a car-buff you're probably not going to know what kind of engine your new car has other than that it's a V4/V6/V8. should a car-buyer know the internal workings of the vehicle they are looking to purchase? i think that's debatable. but in this case it's completely besides the point.

consumers were clearly misled in this case with a combination of deceptive actions on the part of Microsoft:

  • first off, the Vista advertising campaign focused entirely on the "Vista Premium" setup, which is why people don't think they're getting the "full Vista experience" with their non-Premium setups.
  • secondly, the Vista advertising campaign never even mentions "Premium" or "Vista Premium" but simply presents the product shown as "Windows Vista."
  • Microsoft reinforced this notion further by deliberately used a single-tier "Vista Capable" program, which used a single sticker on every Vista machine without distinguishing which ones fully-supported the heavily advertised "Vista Premium" experience.

you can't have it both ways. you either advertise your product as clearly having multiple tiers, or you deliver the full "premium" experience which includes all of the features advertised.

and, IANAL, but i don't think fine print by itself is sufficient defense against false advertisement charges. i highly doubt that there's anyone out there who's never missed a line of fine print, either in a contract they're signing, a TV commercial they watched, a magazine ad they glanced over, or (in this case "fast talking") a radio commercial. the very nature of fine print/fast talking makes it impossible, or at least impractical, for an ordinary human-being (as opposed to the radioactively-enhanced type) to catch all of the information businesses try to slip past consumers. just like it's impractical for a consumer to become an expert on every product they're looking to purchase.

Re:Don't Let This Die (2, Informative)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862285)

I'm curious about this fine print myself. I purchased a Dell Inspiron E1505 with a "Vista Capable" sticker on it. It has no such fine print and I know for a fact that it wasn't on the website when I ordered it.

Re:Don't Let This Die (3, Funny)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860615)

Vista is a vast improvement over XP.

Just about all the problems with it are from people using inferior hardware. You can't run XP on a commodore64 either.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

TwilightXaos (860408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860929)

True. But commodore64's weren't being sold with "XP Ready" stickers on them before the XP launch either.

Re:Don't Let This Die (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861041)

"Turing-equivalent to a Vista Ready machine!"

Re:Don't Let This Die (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862853)

It's even simpler than that. Just consider the fact that MS lowered their standards for "Vista Capable" at the request of Intel. This is strong evidence that there was once a choice made as to what would be a reasonable level of capability to be called "Vista Capable", and it was lowered below that level. This whole case is that "Vista Capable" is below a reasonable level. It damn near proves itself. The only real counter-argument would be if the original standard was set too high, which given how poorly Vista runs on low-end "Vista Capable" systems, that's a pretty difficult position to defend.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859989)

You get the exact same business tactics, just a slightly more stylish computer.

Last I checked Apple didn't offer any cases in brushed aluminum [bit-tech.net] =(

Re:Don't Let This Die (5, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860115)

I'm not sure exactly the same is justified.

One thing Apple has always been very clear about, perhaps even a little too conservative, is the minimum system requirements for their products. Often those requirements are actually above a usable minimum, whereupon they take quite a bit of flack until someone hacks out the hardware check.

Apple actually found itself in very similar circumstances with the release of... can't remember which one. Tiger I think. Anyway, the new Quartz Extreme extensions wouldn't all run on older video cards. So what did they do? They were up front about it, but they also made Quartz degrade gracefully. Actually, the only reliable way we could tell was to drop a widget on Dashboard and see if there were any screen ripples.

Re:Don't Let This Die (3, Interesting)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860459)

Since Apple controls its product line, the responsible thing to do would be to make sure that all of their current products supported CoreImage-- essentially, floating point fragment shaders.

I'm not sure if Apple offers a machine that does not. It shouldn't.

The Vista ready program was designed to assure customers that they would be able to buy a computer that Vista would run well on. In the pre-Vista era, Aero was certainly hyped [microsoft.com] . It's not inconceivable that some poor hapless soles bought new computers in the expectation that they would be able to use Aero, when it came out and were sorely disappointed when they found out that they could not.

Now that Vista has been released, you can demo a prospective purchase in the store, find out that the interface is not as lickable as you were led to expect, and move on. Or you can read reviews, and note the line "Not powerful enough to run Vista". But prior to release, it was all about trust, fine print, and careful research.

Re:Don't Let This Die (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860573)

When Apple released Quartz Extreme they did not sell a machine that didn't support it. But they had sold machines in the past that didn't, and knew such machines were in use.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861673)

I know of at least one Windows 98 machine still in use, and repair G3 OS 9.2--OS 10.2 iMacs at work (even a OS7 PowerMac came in once).

You need to cut the cord at some point.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

lusidd (1282590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862949)

not as lickable as you were led to expect

I found it lickable enough

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863007)

Early versions of Aqua, MacOSX's widget set, were described as lickable because many of the elements resembled jellybeans. A nod to the term eye candy, perhaps?

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

pyrbrand (939860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861471)

Of course, as a hardware manufacturer, it's in Apple's best interest to convince their users that in order to upgrade their software, they need to buy a shiny new box. Hence overstating system requirements as you note. So their decisions are just as avaricious, there are just different motivating factors.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863109)

Of course. But from the customer's point of view, they end up with a little more hardware than perhaps they actually needed, instead of a little less. Thing is, in this case it's Price is Right rules. If you're under, it's game over.

Re:Don't Let This Die (2, Insightful)

Almahtar (991773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860423)

I'm not sure why you'd think going to Apple would be any better. You get the exact same business tactics, just a slightly more stylish computer.

This is an absolutely true statement, but it overlooks one thing: the unfair advantage that is monopoly status and industry entrenchment.

I support open source because it's hard to leverage unfairly, but when I have to choose between Microsoft and Apple I choose Apple because they're the underdog.

When Microsoft's market share reaches 50% or less on desktop OSes and browsers, I'll re-evaluate my stance. They have the same business practices as Apple, but they have far more power until the ecosystem evens out, so they are capable of much more abuse.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861327)

I'm not sure why you'd think going to Apple would be any better. You get the exact same business tactics, just a slightly more stylish computer.

Get back to us when Apple are leveraging a monopoly to stop other companies selling any non-Apple OS. And are convicted of such.

Or did you mean that other sort of "exactly," the sort which means "in the broad category of things I don't approve of, but which encompasses a massive range?"

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862445)

I can get back to you with Apple leveraging it's MP3 player monopoly to push it's own DRM and iTunes store, which happens to be completely and deliberately incompatible with everything else on the market.

Is that too inconvenient a truth?

Re:Don't Let This Die (1, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862789)

Is that too inconvenient a truth?

Inconvenient for you, it's not a truth. Apple doesn't force any of their iPod owners into using their store. iPods will play any MP3 or AAC file just fine, no DRM required.

Furthermore, Apple is actively seeking to remove DRM from their store, and was the first mainstream store to call for it. If they were a monopoly, and were trying to lock their users in, would they really clamor for the ability to remove the only artificial lock in the whole system?

Apple's philosophy is to compete on quality. They use open formats just about across the board. They give their users a way to export just about everything. The only lock-in is in people actually wanting Apple's products.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863123)

Where does Apple force you to use their DRM and iTunes store?

The iPod is compatible with Apple's own implementation of mp4 audio (AAC), the DRM'ed version of that (AAC protected) and several other codecs that you can choose to use - wav, aif, mp3 etc. The only format it doesn't support is WMV, but Apple doesn't sell WMV files, so that's ok.

Assuming you choose to use the iTunes music store for your purchases (note: just because you use an iPod doesn't mean you have to use the store), you can either buy some tracks with no DRM (not all are available this way, but many are) or you can buy them with DRM and then use iTunes itself to burn them to CD, which you can then rerip into your format of choice - even ogg vorbis if you feel like it (not that the iPod will play that out of the box, but you get my point).

iTunes can trivially defeat the minimal DRM on the tracks you can purchase if you like from the iTunes store. No special tricks, no third party software. You burn to CD, you re-rip. Ok, so you lose some quality by re-encoding if you want to do this, but the point is, you can do this if you really want. You can even rip the CD you just made on a windows box, into WMV format and put those tracks you bought on the iTunes music store, from apple, onto your Zune.

Or am I not talking to either of the two people who bought a Zune?

The iPod doesn't play WMV protected files - but I hardly think that's Apple's fault (you really think MS would allow them to use the format?). It will play other files from competing music stores that don't use WMV though.

Or, y'know, just go to a store and buy a CD - it works with them.

bullshit (1)

toby (759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861393)

I'm not sure why you'd think going to Apple would be any better. You get the exact same business tactics, just a slightly more stylish computer.

Now say that with a straight face! Apple and Microsoft do NOT employ the same business strategies in any way; they cannot, because they are the 5-10% player, and microsoft is the 90-95% player. Therefore - as the evidence shows:

1) Microsoft's ONLY strategy is abuse of monopoly through lock-in;

2) Apple's ONLY strategy is to innovate and have the better product (nice that you acknowledge the hardware is better. It sure is. As a Mac user for more than 20 years, I can confirm the hardware is the best available.)

All available facts support both of the above contentions.

Re:bullshit (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862515)

2) Apple's ONLY strategy is to innovate and have the better product

Say that with a straight face. Apple repeatedly leverages what control it has to improve it's marketshare without necessarily innovating at all.

Let's see... refusing to license FairPlay to other MP3 players to push iPod/iTunes lock-in, banning applications from their distribution store that 'replicate features' in Apple-owned products, banning any other form of distribution other than their own under the pretense of 'security', engaging in lawsuits against anybody who dares to install their OS on hardware they don't control, forcing their own developers into NDAs to prevent them complainign about any of the above, using Software update to push Safari as a 'security update'... All the while, a good portion of their 'innovations' have been bought [wikipedia.org] or stolen [tuaw.com] from various places. Xerox, anybody?

Would you like me to go on? I'm pretty sure I could find more. The majority of Apple's innovation nowadays is innovating new ways to keep people tied to their hardware. Anybody who thinks that Apple are better than Microsoft in any regard is suffering from delusions brought on by excessively shiny equipment.

Re:bullshit (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862807)

2) Apple's ONLY strategy is to innovate and have the better product

Say that with a straight face. Apple repeatedly leverages what control it has to improve it's marketshare without necessarily innovating at all.

Let's see... refusing to license FairPlay to other MP3 players to push iPod/iTunes lock-in, banning applications from their distribution store that 'replicate features' in Apple-owned products, banning any other form of distribution other than their own under the pretense of 'security'

You just don't get it. Apple does these things in order to maintain their high standards. If Apple were to license their systems to others, you'd end up with a mess similar to what Microsoft finds itself in. Sure, there are a lot of quality PCs out there, but there are also a ton of shit PCs. Same with phones. There's a lot of great phone apps for other phones, and a lot of shit apps.

Apple wants their products associated with a certain level of quality, and their actions are consistent with this motive. Microsoft, on the other hand, isn't all that concerned about quality. They are more concerned about market share, and their actions are consistent with this motive.

Re:bullshit (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862837)

I'm not sure whether you're trolling me or not, but I'm going to bite anyway.

You've picked the examples I provided that are convenient to prove your point, obviously ignoring those that might have a chance of proving you wrong. How does pushing Safari as a security update for iTunes associate Apple products with a certain level of quality? How does silencing developers and users who try and criticise them improve their image? Stealing UIs from Xerox and Creative? Preventing installs of OSX on unsupported hardware? If all they're after is improving their product, there are other ways to move which would do the same thing without happening to increase potential lock-in.

The kool-aid is strong with you, it seems.

Re:bullshit (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863133)

Stealing UIs from Xerox

Whoa there boy, and here we expose the guy with an axe to grind.

I think you meant to say "licensing the UI from Xerox PARC". There was no theft. The two companies entered into a mutually beneficial business arrangement.

You make it sound like when Microsoft renamed the Trash the "Recycle Bin" and put it in the opposite corner of the screen and called it "innovation'.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862071)

They haven't yet tried to prove there is any detriment to the consumer, and are struggling to prove that they were being deliberately misleading.

So a person . . . let's take for example, Mike Nash, VP of Microsoft . . . buys a $2,100 computer. He upgrades to Vista from XP and complains that "he personally got burned" and his computer is now so unusable he calls is a "$2,100 email machine". Now this isn't just an average consumer. He even got internal MS help and they couldn't fix his machine. So the time spent with support, the endless headaches of Vista not working properly, and a new computer that isn't usable, you don't call these misleading or detrimental to a consumer?

Thanks For Modding It Troll You FAGs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859853)

Typical Microsoft shill..sucked Ballmer's fat sweaty cock lately you fag?

Re:Thanks For Modding It Troll You FAGs (0)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859867)

sounds delicious, lol

Re:Thanks For Modding It Troll You FAGs (0, Flamebait)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859939)

Oh come on you dumb mods, why can't you recognize sarcasm?

Re:Thanks For Modding It Troll You FAGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860031)

twitter?

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859927)

While I disagree with the delivery the message is spot on and whoever modded you troll will meet meta moderation hell at some point.

Microsoft has gone way too far, the SCO thing, all the proven criminal stuff from the past... It's really a pity that the breakup didn't happen, it would have been a much better climate in software land if it had.

It's really ironic how Neelie Smit-Kroes (one of the most shameless examples of cronyism in dutch politics) is one of the few people on the planet that seems to have the guts to stand up to Microsoft.

Re:Don't Let This Die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860655)

Maybe Microsoft hasn't met her price yet.

Re:Don't Let This Die (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861205)

Maybe Microsoft hasn't met her price yet.

Not for want of trying.

Twitter troll, mod down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861859)

n/t

Good Luck MSFT (5, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859851)

I worked retail during the period "Vista ready" hit the shelves and only a very small handful of machines meet what our team of salespeople would consider to be truly capable of running vista. The whole thing was a total scam to sell as many computers as possible during the typical iteration lull; when a new product is about to release, nobody typically wants the old one. The seriously funny part of Vista's release is how few people wanted it, but MSFT acted like everyone was going to love it, thus proving how out of touch they are with reality. The new Seinfeld ads prove this to be true. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Re:Good Luck MSFT (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860173)

actually.

power corrupts, but powrpoint corrupts absolutly...

Re:Good Luck MSFT (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861713)

actually.

power corrupts, but powrpoint corrupts absolutly...

What does this have to do with vodka?

can we get an amen (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860175)

Perhaps you can offer to be an expert witness if this case goes on.

Re:Good Luck MSFT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860679)

I worked retail during the period "Vista ready" hit the shelves and only a very small handful of machines meet what our team of salespeople would consider to be truly capable of running vista.

Honestly, how many of them were capable of running XP well? You need 2GB of ram and you're set on anything, even a celeron...

The whole thing was a total scam to sell as many computers as possible during the typical iteration lull; when a new product is about to release, nobody typically wants the old one. The seriously funny part of Vista's release is how few people wanted it, but MSFT acted like everyone was going to love it, thus proving how out of touch they are with reality. The new Seinfeld ads prove this to be true. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

None of that is really Vista specific. Retail = rats. Black, Brown, White, they're all vermin.

Re:Good Luck MSFT (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862553)

Honestly, how many of them were capable of running XP well? You need 2GB of ram and you're set on anything, even a celeron...

That may be true for Windows nowadays, I wouldn't know. I do know that Linux runs just fine on only 1GB or RAM. Why does Windows need so many resources to run acceptably?

Re:Good Luck MSFT (2, Informative)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862791)

That depends on your definition of "acceptable". WinXP doesn't *need* 1GB. The email machine in my office at work runs WinXP Pro and has 0.25GB installed. It's slow to boot, and initially slow to load Outlook (2003?) and Firefox 3. However, once they've been loaded once, you're good to go.

Re:Good Luck MSFT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25863115)

This might be a problem if ram was expensive. Except it's not. The amount of ram it uses is by in large irrelevant because Vista although it uses more ram does more than XP. It might come as a surprise to some people but those things which some people call bloat, others call critical features.

I've always hated the practice... (5, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859857)

...of selectively disabling features in a software product and selling a product at a lower price. It's a bit different for things in the real world, where there's a real physical cost involved with adding extra do-dads and features to products. But in software, it's just flipping a few bits to remove features you've already developed. The crazy thing is, it actually costs *more* to do this, as the company now has multiple versions of the product to package, distribute, and support.

I'd much prefer the game industry's model of "premium versions" of a game containing extra bonuses. The core product is the same, but if you want to pay for it, you can get a few extras, maybe a "making of" DVD, or a CD containing the soundtrack, books and figurines, stuff like that.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (2, Interesting)

naoursla (99850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859911)

The EU requires Microsoft to release a basic version as part of their antitrust lawsuite. Each feature in the premium versions requires a price attached to it and the premium version has to cost the same as the basic version plus the price of each additional feature. If any discount is given for combining features then it is considered "bundling" and is not allowed.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (5, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859947)

This only applies to the media player, due to the knock-on effect on web-based video and music of having every windows pc guaranteed to have microsoft's codecs. This is the reason for the -N versions on the vista DVD.

There's no reason microsoft couldn't have split vista into two versions; home and business. All the extra 'ultimate' crap, and turning off aero entirely in basic was just segmenting the market to extract as much money as possible.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860639)

From :

A 2002 settlement that arose out of the US Justice Department's antitrust pursuit of Microsoft "established a comprehensive regulatory scheme that not only resolved past conduct, but also created a detailed compliance structure to address future competitive concerns that might arise," the letter said. "This regulatory scheme insures that Microsoft can continue to add new features into its products but allows both users and computer manufacturers to hide these additional features and use competing products instead."

Any new feature added to Windows has the possibility of being declared "bundling". The EU ruling goes far beyond just adding a media player. Microsoft is very careful about complying with the EU rulings.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25862143)

And exactly what are the marketing/sales folks supposed to do other than make as much money as possible? What are you fucking communist? Of course they designed it to make money, that's what commercial companies do. They aren't a non-profit for christ's sake. Fucking idiot.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

dasunst3r (947970) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859929)

Are you saying you wanted a Bill Gates-looking punching bag with your Windows Vista Ultimate Edition for when your computer crashes?

Re:I've always hated the practice... (0, Flamebait)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861179)

Are you saying you wanted a Bill Gates-looking punching bag with your Windows Vista Ultimate Edition for when your computer crashes?

I've been developing on Vista for about a year and a half. In all that time, on either my laptop or desktop machine, Vista has never crashed on me. Nowadays, jokes about Microsoft OS instability simply paints you as a) an anti-Microsoft zealot, and/or b) someone who hasn't used Windows in recent years.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize Microsoft and its products. But there are also things that Microsoft is really good at. Why make stuff up?

Re:I've always hated the practice... (4, Informative)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861539)

I bought a laptop that came bundled with Vista and it crashed on me numerous times before I got fed up with all the Vista crap and "upgraded" to XP (and later upgraded to Ubuntu). Just because it's never crashed on you doesn't make other people liars. I think you need to get a clue.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862941)

I bought a laptop that came bundled with Vista and it crashed on me numerous times before I got fed up with all the Vista crap and "upgraded" to XP (and later upgraded to Ubuntu). Just because it's never crashed on you doesn't make other people liars. I think you need to get a clue.

Actually, thinking back, I had a somewhat similar experience, but it was XP, not Vista. I got a brand new Dell notebook a few years ago, and it was horribly unstable with all the crap that came pre-installed on it. I had to wipe the drive and re-install XP and the minimal set of drivers. I'm not sure exactly what was making it unstable, but it was rock solid after that. I wonder if you had a similar experience? Pre-installed crapware is a fairly significant problem with Windows-based machines from big-name manufacturers.

You're absolutely right though, that some people have undoubtedly had poor experiences with Vista, so I really shouldn't accuse people of speaking untruths. Still, I've both used and developed on nearly every version of Windows OS, so I can extrapolate general trends by viewing the overall stability of both my machines as well as my co-workers. Generally speaking, I'd guess 95% of the time, any few instabilities I've tracked down has been the fault of buggy 3rd-party drivers, and at this point, Vista is pretty well protected against even those now.

So, I'll revise my assertion. *I* haven't seen any evidence of Windows instability since my switch to NT-based operating systems. Your mileage may vary.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

Informative (1347701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862213)

You didn't say what they're good at. You can't mean that it doesn't crash because they're way behind other OSes on that. Do you mean marketing?

Re:I've always hated the practice... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860063)

From the perspective of a supplier of goods/services, prices should be set at the customer's willingness to pay. This is independent of what it costs you to actually produce the good/service, unless of course cost > price. If for a minor amount more development effort you can have a strip-down version that attracts customers with a lower willingness to pay that you would not have otherwise had (without cannibalizing premium revenue), it absolutely makes sense to do so.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860315)

How do you determine what is a bonus feature and what was removed? Just shift names around and stuff and you can have exactly the same thing with the same effect.

There's really no problem with doing this.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (2, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860987)

How do you determine what is a bonus feature and what was removed? Just shift names around and stuff and you can have exactly the same thing with the same effect.

There's really no problem with doing this.

I'd differentiate it by asking: Is the core product in the "light" version of the software intentionally crippled? Or, perhaps one could look at it a different way. Is the "standard" product the less expensive or more expensive one (i.e. the one that gets promoted)?

Using my example of the game industry (normal games vs "collector edition" games), you can clearly see that the standard package is the less expensive SKU. However, the game itself in both packages are identical. The "collector edition" boxes contain bonus material that is extraneous to the core product.

In the case of Vista Home, Microsoft decided to strip out features from their "standard" operating system. Why do I consider the Aero glass interface "standard" and not an extra? Microsoft advertised it heavily as a cool, new feature of Vista. And, the fact that its in four of the five versions of Vista would lend credence to this viewpoint.

Naturally, you're correct that it's a matter of perception. But when selling products to consumers, perception matters, right?

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862497)

Naturally, you're correct that it's a matter of perception. But when selling products to consumers, perception matters, right?

Yes, that's my point. Just market it differently and you make the crippled version be the normal version and all other versions have bonus features and it's the EXACT same thing.

Hell, the stripped-down version might otherwise allow people who couldn't buy the full version a chance at a new, modern operating system. Not sure why they'd choose Vista (lol) but you see my point?

Perception very much does matter, you are correct. But in the instance of law and such, it should take, or at least attempt to take, a more objective view of the matter.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

russsell (185151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860353)

You do realise that your examples of "selectively disabling" and "premium versions" with DVD/CD are pretty much the same thing?

In both scenarios the extra content has been developed. It's just that in one scenario the manufacturer has tweaked a few bits, while in the other they have gone to all the trouble of creating separate physical media.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860507)

Am I the only one that remembers the Plus! pack that you could by to "enhance" your Windows 95 and 98?

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861307)

Sometimes this happens because you bring out a fully featured, single level product with a certain price tag and people are buying it. A little later on you get messages from other interested parties along the lines of "I really like your product - but I don't need features X, Y or Z, could you provide a cheaper product without those features?", and so it happens.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862829)

Except Windows doesn't get cheaper, it gets more expensive.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (4, Informative)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861787)

It is not always the case for hardware. Intel chips would often have part of the hardware disabled, because it is cheaper to make one type of chip than two (the 386sx/dx, 486sx,dx, etc...) Cameras as well, can come with hardware that is not supported by the version of software installed, thus disabling part of it.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863155)

This is done with hardware for manufacturing costs and so on, as you state - only one set of tooling needed to make the chips, or the widget or whatever it is your company makes.

Then you can stream it at QA, which I know Intel has done in the past, and put lower quality batches as slower chips, selling them as such. The QA assures that they will work properly at say 1GHz, when it's literally an identical chip to the 1.5GHz in the more expensive box - it just failed QA at that speed.

Not that Intel are innocent of dodgy practices - I'm sure there's some skeletons in that cupboard, it's just a little different to intentionally cripple your software to try and milk the maximum cash out of the public, all the while advertising that the shitty thing they're buying is really the super sexy Aero-enabled, fully-network-working Vista Ultra Ultimate Pro with a free patch of Ballmer's ear hair in each box.

Re:I've always hated the practice... (0, Flamebait)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862725)

...of selectively disabling features in a software product and selling a product at a lower price. It's a bit different for things in the real world, where there's a real physical cost involved with adding extra do-dads and features to products. But in software, it's just flipping a few bits to remove features you've already developed. The crazy thing is, it actually costs *more* to do this, as the company now has multiple versions of the product to package, distribute, and support.

Since when is there no cost to writing software?

I'd much prefer the game industry's model of "premium versions" of a game containing extra bonuses. The core product is the same, but if you want to pay for it, you can get a few extras, maybe a "making of" DVD, or a CD containing the soundtrack, books and figurines, stuff like that.

How is that different than what you're complaining about? Isn't the "core product" just the "premium version" with the extra bits removed?

It definitely wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft is doing it wrong, but in most cases everybody benefits when people can pay for just the parts they want. The software company sells an extra copy of their software, and the customer gets just the software they need, for less money. I'm really not seeing what there is to complain about.

Tales from the Past (5, Insightful)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859861)

I sincerely hope MS get their feet held to the fire over this.

As an ex-IBMer, I have wondered for years why Microsoft is not drowning in antitrust cases (or the modern fashionable class actions). For the 13 years the second A-T case against IBM ran, every employee signed off the Business Conduct Guidelines every year, and knew that a breach of the BCG was cause for instant dismissal.

MS doesn't seem to think unethical behaviour is even noticed.

Re:Tales from the Past (5, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859935)

Better yet, they've elevated it to an artform. Buying representatives on standards committees, bribing government officials to get rid of FOSS friendly legislation, the list is endless.

When having to choose between monsanto and microsoft as the supreme example of an outright criminal corporation it's a tough choice.

Re:Tales from the Past (2, Insightful)

Hanyin (1301045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860889)

When having to choose between monsanto and microsoft as the supreme example of an outright criminal corporation it's a tough choice.

I don't know about you but when it comes to corporate monopolies I mind a lot more when it's food having less genetic variety compared to one company's OS being run on every computer; and then there are the dominant terminator seeds that spread to neighboring fields so that regular crops can no longer be grown... at least there's no virus on my Mac that uninstalls OSX and replaces it with Vista.

So I suppose that while *some* of their actions are similar, the bigger criminal is easily Monsanto.

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

wildwood (153376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863135)

When having to choose between monsanto and microsoft as the supreme example of an outright criminal corporation it's a tough choice.

Shouldn't DeBeers be in there somewhere?

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860107)

I sincerely hope MS get their feet held to the fire over this.

Why just MS? They were bribed into lowering their vista ready standards by Intel. Intel should also be punished for trying to keep the market to themselves through such an illegal backroom deal.

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860705)

in order to prove Intel did wrong you have to prove MSFT was wrong and get MSFT to say bad things about Intel. Since Windows Is the only CPU stuck OS anymore pissing off Intel isn't possible for MSFT.

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861019)

So ... put MSFT into a cold room for a while, play good cop, bad cop, then offer them a plea bargain. ;)

Re:Tales from the Past (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860233)

Fact: Microsoft has VERY strict Conduct Guidelines that every employee and manager must comply with. These guidelines do include proper Business Conduct, and cover things such as accepting or handing out bribes (in any form, including "well it was just a nice gesture!" scenarios). They're referred to as "SBC" (Standards of Business Conduct).

These mandatory compliance rules are updated on average twice a year (sometimes more often depending upon what changes), and every employee has to watch a series of videos, take a quiz, and agree to comply with said guidelines else risk immediate termination. Failure to comply with these rules will result in termination and/or legal repercussions, depending upon what the offence was.

These rules have been getting more and more strict as time goes on, probably because of cases like this. Sadly, such guidelines wouldn't be necessary if employees (regardless of their stature/role) acted responsibly and weren't sneaky/shady bastards.

Re:Tales from the Past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860517)

Their SBC might prevent a few bad employees but does nothing to stop the actions of the company as a whole when it is knowingly taking part in a campaign that deceives the public.

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

I_want_information (1413105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860561)

Was this pre- or post- the "knife the baby" or whatever it was incident that resulted in M$ persuading Compaq I think it was to drop bundling QuickTime after having signed an agreement with Apple to do so?

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861045)

Unfortunately, I think only the lower-level employees are required to watch these videos and sign the conduct forms. Based on the e-mails released in this and previous cases, I'd guess that upper management doesn't go near the training room for fear of being struck down by lightning.

Re:Tales from the Past (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862839)

Fact: Prepending a statement with "Fact:" does not make it so.

An ex-IBMer criticizing MSFT Business Ethics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861059)

So wait a minute, IBM lost its ability to do business with the Government because of bribery of EPA officials, plays games with the Open Source community by claiming to be "with them" on Patents, and then tries to patent 'bathroom line standing' and you think the BCG has made IBM an ethical company?

Have you looked at what IBM has done to try and protect their multi-billion dollar mainframe monopoly??

IBM invented the game of placating people and governments. Don't EVER bring IBM up as an ethical standard bearer.

OT: Fedora 10 FINAL is available on ThePirateBay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25859903)

Search for "Fedora 10" on thepiratebay.org.

Good seeders exist! SHA1SUM checks out; GPG sigs are good.

Re:OT: Fedora 10 FINAL is available on ThePirateBa (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861459)

Search for "Fedora 10" on thepiratebay.org. Good seeders exist! SHA1SUM checks out; GPG sigs are good.

Or wait three days and get it from a more reliable source.

"The big lie" technique (4, Insightful)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25859907)

From TFA:

"The evidence refutes Plaintiffs' claims that Windows Vista Home Basic cannot 'fairly' be called Windows Vista," Microsoft said in the motion for summary judgment.

And yet their own internal communications talk about what a piece of crap it is, and how the "Vista capable" thing will blow up in their face, mislead consumers, etc etc.

Ultimate-ly (smirk smirk), the lawyers are going to be the ones to hash out these definitions, and it'll be a damn shame if "the big lie" technique succeeds, but factually speaking, Microsoft did intentionally mislead consumers.

Journalists are so unfair to Microsoft (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860003)

Microsoft today issued a plea through its network of objective opinion-shapers: Don't let the journalists near it. [today.com]

"We understand that many journalists use Macs," said CNet marketing marketer Don Reisinger. "This means they necessarily suckle at the Satanic rear passage of Steve Jobs. We cannot countenance their bias. Journalists are responsible for all those signs outside computer shops offering to replace Vista with XP. When was the last time you saw the entire technology field stop and wait for an announcement from any other company besides Apple? It's so unfair!"

Smears and slanders also come from obsessive overweight nerdy Mac-using Linux geek troublemakers who run "benchmarks" and "tests." "It's horrifying bias from the 'reality'-based community," said ZDNet marketing marketer Mary Jo Enderle. "We understand that, just because Vista was 40% slower than XP, the nattering nabobs of negativism are already writing that it's 'not enough of an improvement.' It's so unfair!"

"Mactards are like concentration camp guards," said Guardian marketing marketer Jack Schofield, "brutalising 'I'm A PC' users and" [This comment has been removed by a Guardian moderator. Replies may also be deleted.]

"The only reason Vista failed was because Microsoft planned for it to fail," said Reisinger in an earlier ad-banner troll post. "It was a fantastically subtle double-bluff! They did the honorable thing in the face of the vile calumnies spread by Apple. It's so unfair!"

Re:Journalists are so unfair to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860945)

It's so unfair!

You keep using this phrase. I don't think you know what it means.

Re:Journalists are so unfair to Microsoft (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861027)

The "reality-based" community just don't understand the wonder and beauty of Microsoft products. Some of them even badmouth OOXML! I'm shocked.

5 Versions of Vista? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25860055)

Fucking idiots.

Re:5 Versions of Vista (when none are needed)? (1)

Informative (1347701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862251)

You forgot "assholes".

so what is it then? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860139)

...if it isn't Vista? XP Service Pack 3a?

Vista = $2100 email machine (5, Interesting)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860515)

From ieee.org, and other places: Unfortunately, 158 pages of internal Microsoft emails by employees like Michael Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management, tends to undercut Microsoft's insistence that there was nothing misleading with Vista. Nash wrote that he "personally got burned" by buying a laptop that was labeled as Windows Vista Capable: "I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine." If their advertising can fool a VP then it surely can fool the plaintiffs. I don't think they have a leg to stand on.

Re:Vista = $2100 email machine (2, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861035)

Well, he could run Linux on it and it wouldn't be an email machine ;-)

Re:Vista = $2100 email machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861681)

Yeah. It would be a paperweight!

Actually, I run Debian. You just set yourself up for that one.

Microsoft's segmentation strategy misses. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25860547)

Windows ISVs used to laughing at the confusion caused by a plethora of Linux distributions have been orphaned by Microsoft. That's really the problem. You can't market Vista head to head against anything, because, there's all of these editions. You can't develop for anything but Vista Cheapo Edition, because, the market is now fragmented.

Quite honestly Microsoft would have been better served to wait a year to ship Vista, get more drivers out there, and have only -one- edition and for all computers. Then, they could turn around and go head to against Mac and Linux and compete with a single message. Hardware partners would have been happier to get newer computers out there, and developers could take advantage of the features of Vista premium without worrying about them.

Re:Microsoft's segmentation strategy misses. (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861337)

They didn't want to have one version. I suspect the Home/Pro version of XP convinced them there was a way to segment the market to maximize profit.

The truth is, as a monopoly, MS is mainly committed to finding ways of charging more for it's products. And to be fair, if I owned MS, I'd do the same thing. It's about maximizing profits, since they really don't have any competition to their desktop monopoly.

Re:Microsoft's segmentation strategy misses. (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861879)

Apart from XP that is...

Re:Microsoft's segmentation strategy misses. (4, Interesting)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25862061)

The Home/Pro versions of XP have a historical reasoning, though.

XP Home replaced Windows 98/ME.
XP Professional replaced Windows NT4 Workstation/Windows 2000 Professional.

Now, you could argue that XP should have combined these into one. I agree. However, I wouldn't have though too much of it if they were kept separate versions going into Vista.

Instead, Vista subdivided each of these markets in half:
XP Home to Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium
XP Professional to Vista Business and Vista Enterprise; although Enterprise didn't come until later and is the only version not to be on the same install media as the others.

Then there's Vista Ultimate for people who are naive enough to pay more to have the features of Vista Home Premium and Vista Business plus a few (IMO) useless extras.

Don't judge the case by this one filing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861143)

Any side of a case can look like a slam dunk when you only read the brief for that side. I suspect that the attorneys for the class action side have a different view.

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