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Vista Capable Lawsuit Loses Class-Action Status

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-means-what-exactly-now dept.

Microsoft 172

nandemoari writes "The long-running 'Vista Capable' lawsuit challenging Microsoft's marketing of PCs capable of running only the most basic version of the Windows Vista operating system has reportedly lost its class-action status. Federal judge Marsha Pechman decertified the class-action lawsuit, saying that plaintiffs had failed to show that consumers paid more for PCs with the 'Vista Capable' label than they would have otherwise."

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don't worry (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958257)

you all can eat my asshole.

Monitors (1)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958299)

What about Vista-capable monitors? Never understood the point of that sticker on the base of my 22" LCD monitor.

Re:Monitors (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958339)

What about Vista-capable monitors? Never understood the point of that sticker on the base of my 22" LCD monitor.

Usually that means it has HDCP or the drivers were bundled in.

Re:Monitors (3, Insightful)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958351)

Also, why don't vendors include stickers for all OS' a piece of hardware will function with. My HP laptop shipped with a Vista-capable sticker but it works wonderfully with Debian/Ubuntu and it even works with my non-Vista-compatible digital camera!

Re:Monitors (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958431)

Probably because Debian and Ubuntu won't pay the vendors to put the stickers on. You didn't think the stickers and the person putting them on and keeping inventory of them was free did you?

Re:Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959345)

Wait... do they need to keep inventory of the stickers or the people putting them on?

Re:Monitors (3, Funny)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959583)

OBVIOUSLY no dude, by night, when everyone leaves the factory, some Latino dude with indigenous heritage make some ritual (involving Win 95 floppies, WinME complain letters and spit from RIAA representatives) so magical pixies emerge from the pile of Vista licenses and roam the factory automagically putting the sticker on. Does not apply if is a Chinese factory because you should know that nobody sleeps in th... errr because pixies does not get along with dragons and that all I'm going to say about it. Get the facts!

Re:Monitors (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959703)

Bravo Bravo

Re:Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959801)

pixie defense!

Re:Monitors (2, Funny)

Trails (629752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959611)

I thought FOSS stood for Free Operating System Stickers.

What's that? It's Free Open Source Software? Wow, that explains a lot. Excuse me, I need to go make some apologies on some Linux forums.

Re:Monitors (0)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958433)

Because Debian/Ubuntu has no labeling program that can certify compatibility?

And that's even leaving aside the question of whether it'd be even worthwhile to market that way.

Re:Monitors (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958573)

http://www.ubuntu.com/partners/hardwareprogramme

Re:Monitors (1)

NinjaCoder (878547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958471)

I'm not entirely sure if you are serious, but it is because the manufacturers can't be arsed to certificate their kit with every OS out there. That said, I wish I could be confident that 'Vista Compatible' means it works under Vista 64 bit.

Re:Monitors (1)

Lulfas (1140109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958635)

Because the market base for people who use Debian/Ubuntu only is so minor it isn't worth considering?

Re:Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958661)

I hear vendors won't do that until an OS has 3% marketshare. Come back in 2035.

Re:Monitors (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958695)

I hear vendors won't do that until an OS has 3% marketshare. Come back in 2035.

Is that the year of the Linux Desktop that I keep hearing so much about?

Re:Monitors (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960087)

No, we'll need at least 30% market share for that, so look for it in 2135.

Re:Monitors (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959429)

My monitor is held together by stickers.

Well, technically, not *stickers* per se, more like scotch tape and duct tape, but I've drawn matchstick figures of my imaginary girlfriend on it.

She looks good backed by grey/silver.

cheers,

Re:Monitors (3, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958535)

Could have been a DRM thing. I'm too tired to look up the exact acronym (though HDCP is sounding familiar), but Vista implemented new support for certain monitors having end to end encryption between the video card and the display, so that it wasn't possible to directly capture the video from the video cable. There was originally plans (that I'm not sure if they ever came to fruition) to downgrade HD video on monitors that didn't conform to this standard (or were connected using standard DSUB cables instead of HDMI or DVI).

Or just marketing run amok (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959987)

While I see your point, I've also seen and touched computer speakers labeled as "Y2K compliant" back in 1999. And even that wasn't the most ludicrious thing. IIRC _the_ most ludicrious thing was a network cable sold as Y2K compliant.

I'm not even sure how a cable or speakers could _possibly_ have had a Y2K problem, seeing that neither even had a CPU, much less anything capable of knowing the date or depending on it.

The only sane explanation was that some marketer figured out they'd sell more of them with that extra claim.

And it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Vista thing created similar effects.

Re:Or just marketing run amok (2, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960145)

The only sane explanation was that some marketer figured out they'd sell more of them with that extra claim.

Sort of. "Sell more of them" actually meant "Sell any of them, to corporate and organizational customers with brainless hard-and-fast Y2K compliance requirements."

Yes, I am a Y2K remediation survivor. I saw many companies, and many government agencies, implement no-exceptions, no-tailoring, mandatory, 100% applicable standards that looked like: "Any computer acquisition (hardware, software, or services) procured by purchase or lease must be certified Y2K compliant."

Is network cabling computer hardware? Yes? Then it has to be Y2K compliant.

Thankfully, that's easy to prove. Just point out the Y2K compliance certification from the manufacturer, and the "Y2K Compliant" sticker on the packaging.

What, no sticker? We can't buy that. Find it from a vendor which did put a sticker on their packaging.

And you, Mr. Computer Cable Marketer, lose a sale. Or lots of sales.

This is a bureaucratic response to a bureaucratic requirement. I hope you didn't lose much sleep or sanity over it.

Re:Or just marketing run amok (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960517)

Well, I'm certainly not going to lose sleep over something like that. But that something like that happened, even if for the reasons you wrote, certainly helped lower my expectations about the lower end of

A) the intelligence, and

B) the honesty

of the human species.

The intelligence part you've already covered extremely well. It's exactly that kind of idiotic decisions taken by people who don't understand what they manage, that makes Dilbert seem like a documentary.

The honesty part is actually what bothered me more. Yes, as many people will tell you, there were _some_ real problems out there that had to be fixed for the Y2K, and some people who put real honest work into that. But that's all dwarfed by the amount of lying con-men that crawled out of the woodwork for that event. There was so much snake-oil sold, and so much scare-mongering about doomsday scenarios which _couldn't_ have possibly happened, that it left a very bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

Basically if management ended up taking those retarded inflexible decisions, it's also because they were bombarded with disinformation by the various self-serving con-artists and scaremongers. They had everything from consulticks to lying sales-weasels to IT ragazines trying to milk some money out of them with scary outlandish stories of the utter apocalypse that awaits them if as little as the doormat isn't certified Y2K compliant. I can even sorta excuse the sales-weasels paid by commission, but the consulticks and IT ragazine pundits were the ones trusted to provide the needed information and sane advice there. That they too chose to lie to milk some more money out of any gullible manager...

Mind you, it still doesn't excuse the idiocy of those who did blow a company's money on idiotic unneeded upgrades of the speakers and network cables. But it's not a zero-sum game. I can despise the con-men without having to lose any contempt for the gullible idiots.

Linus is gay (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958337)

Only fags use Linux.

Re:Linus is gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958707)

Only fags use Linux.

... Oh sthop it ...

Re:Linus is gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959025)

Steve Jobs? Is that you?

Re:Linus is gay (2, Informative)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959077)

Cigarettes use computers! Who knew?

Re:Linus is gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26960403)

Cigarettes use computers! Who knew?

Let it be known...

macdaddy357 is the funniest mother-fucker alive. Bow down before this queer and waste your mod points on my silly posts.

By the way, Linux users are still fags.

I paid more... (1)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958355)

Out the window goes my brilliant rebate scheme for my Vista capable MacBook Pro.

Re:I paid more... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958725)

And how much bribes did Microsoft pay to get the suit dismissed?

I think that's a valid question since it's a lot of money at stake for Microsoft and they have tipped the odds earlier in the OOXML circus.

Re:I paid more... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959835)

I just mentioned that to our sales manager, that we should put Vista Capable stickers on all our macs on display. He likes the idea. heh...

Yay! (1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958407)

Another great victory for incompetence, inconvenience and greed.

Re:Yay! (1, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958935)

Looks like the immoral, unethical, dishonest and really quite pathetically retarded Microsoft shills are getting mod points these days. Ah my, it must be so so sad to be so immoral, unethical, dishonest and really quite pathetically retarded.

Re:Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959373)

Slashdot has become really shit in recent years, especially post-Vista.

There are actual factual Microsoft shills now, who will just outright lie and get modded up for it. They fit in comfortably with the old Slashdot segment of robber baron wannabees, who love sucking corporate dick.

It's coincided with kdawson and a general drop in story quality. There's exactly one place on the whole wide internets that I can still usually find intelligent and friendly conversation: SadlyNo. Troll away, fuckers.

Re:Yay! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960061)

You don't have to be a Microsoft shill to be immoral, unethical, dishonest, or pathetically retarded. Just look at most politicians (for one example) - they are not MS shills.) MS may own a monopoly on certain things, but those things you listed are not included.

"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (4, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958409)

I'm confused by the judge's comment -- I thought the whole issue was *not* that users paid higher prices for "Vista Capable" machines, but rather that they bought such machines that were not actually capable of running Vista.

What gives?

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (4, Insightful)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958455)

The fact that they had to pay more for a machine that was Vista capable, when the basic machines weren't Vista capable (yet labeled as such) is a big part of that argument.

TFA seems to disagree (3, Informative)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958929)

The fact that they had to pay more for a machine that was Vista capable, when the basic machines weren't Vista capable (yet labeled as such) is a big part of that argument.

A good idea, but I don't think that's the argument. Actually reading TFA (I know, I know), it sure sounds like the judge is saying that the prosecution is arguing that the low-end machines labeled as "Vista Capable" were somehow deliberately overpriced, thereby leading to 'unjust enrichment' for Microsoft. If so, this really seems like a royal screw-up for the prosecution, since it's your version of the argument that makes much more sense (at least to me, but IANAL).

Cheers,

They were still misrepresenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959927)

These machines did not work with Vista. And MS sold a Vista license that was not suitable. Since this Vista license cost money that went to MS, this is unjust enrichment.

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1, Troll)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958529)

Actually, the machines were demonstrably capable of running Vista.

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958571)

Actually, the machines were demonstrably capable of running Vista.

Yes, the version of Vista that was just like XP, only slower and much worse, aka "Microsoft Upgrade".

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958759)

So? It's still Vista and the machine is running it.

Whether or not Vista blows goats is outside the scope of this particular lawsuit.

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958867)

The problem is, as we saw by the emails released during discovery, that even the management at MSFT considers Aero=Vista and Basic is just a POS they threw out there to have something to stick on the crappiest OEM PCs. Just read the one from the higher up complaining he spent $2100 on a laptop and got "an email machine" because it said it was Vista Capable and wasn't. Could somebody provide the link to the relative text? I'm sorry but my Google Fu is completely fail ATM. Thanks.

"Vista Capable" laptop == "$2100 email machine" (3, Informative)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959005)

Here you go. [nwsource.com] The PDF linked in the article shows the actual email thread, including the "I now have a $2100 email machine" money quote by MS executive Mike Nash.

Cheers,

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959331)

Just read the one from the higher up complaining he spent $2100 on a laptop and got "an email machine" because it said it was Vista Capable and wasn't.

I must admit I'm struggling to conceive of a way you could spend $2100 on a laptop and _not_ have something capable of running Vista "Premium".

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959589)

My guess? Intel chipset. I'm afraid I have a sinus infection and my Google Fu is completely blown ATM but maybe someone could provide a link for me? There was a popular Intel chipset that was supported in Vista Beta one and then never supported again. It was also a chipset that was pushed heavily in the laptop market. I think it was the 945? Anyway remember we are talking 2K5 here and Intel had more laptops in the upper ranges than they do now. Today if you spend over $1000 you can be pretty sure you will get ATI or Nvidia, but in 2K5 there were plenty of higher models that also used the Intel IGP.

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959771)

There was a popular Intel chipset that was supported in Vista Beta one and then never supported again. It was also a chipset that was pushed heavily in the laptop market. I think it was the 945? Anyway remember we are talking 2K5 here and Intel had more laptops in the upper ranges than they do now.

I think it was the 915. However, I am sceptical it - or any other integrated video chipset - could be found in such an expensive laptop, even one dating from 2005. Heck, I have an old Dell Precision M60, it has a dedicated video card and didn't cost that much more than US$2100, in 2003.

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26960151)

He bought a Mac...

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958601)

...for conveniently picked values of "capable of running Vista", of course.

Re:"Paid more"? What about "needed to replace?" (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959975)

A "vista capable" sticker on a pc is often a cheap way to con someone into upgrading to a machine that's not vista tolerable.

You'll remember back to when 480mbps usb came out, all those PCs being sold with the slower (12mbps) usb couldn't GIVE those motherboards away, so they just bribed the specs committee to rename the standards so "USB 1.1" aka "USB full speed" vs "USB 2.0" aka "USB high speed" were "simplified" to "USB 2.0" and "USB 2.0 high speed", so that anyone shopping for USB 2.0 would probably be dished off a 12mbps since its name went from "USB 1.1" to "USB 2.0" to unload that worthless hardware.

Much the same goes on with the "Vista Capable" crap. Computers that 50% of the computer using public, (and 95% of the tech savvy computer users) would not tolerate the poor performance and lack of hardware support in older machines that got rubber stamped with that "certification".

All macs are specced well above acceptable performance, but there is still some hardware support issues. (sound, camera, video acceleration, depends on the model) So I don't think I could in good faith slap a Vista Ready logo on ALL current macs. Most maybe, but the newest ones are likely to have some driver issues. (that will probably be quickly addressed, based on prior history)

Slightly Misleading (5, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958427)

The summary (and, indeed, the article) is a little misleading. It is not that they didn't show that the plaintiffs didn't pay more (if the judge had found that, the case probably would have been dismissed). Rather, they lost their clase certification because they hadn't shown that all the plaintiffs in the class had uniformly overpaid.

To form a class, the plaintiffs' situations situations have to be relevantly similar. Her ruling was just that, in essence, the cases hadn't been shown to be similar enough to be litigated as a class.

Now the cases will proceed individually, with each plaintiff having to show individually that they overpaid.

Re:Slightly Misleading (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958503)

The arguments are flawed. It doesn't matter if they paid more or not. The machines were advertised as being fit for a specific purpose, and they are not fit for that purpose. If I order a $200 car, and someone sends me a $200 bicycle, the fact that it was a fair price for a bicycle is rather irrelevant.

This whole thing stinks of bought and paid for...

Re:Slightly Misleading (3, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958569)

find a bicycle that is actually just the basic version of a car, then perhaps your argument might mean something. There is a version of Vista those machines would run with, and it is actually Vista...not DOS, not Win3.1, but Vista.

Re:Slightly Misleading (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958717)

See, you take this card and this clothes pin and attach it to the wheel here...

You see, it's a VERY basic car. If you knew any better, you might call it just a bike with something tacked on which might cause it to run a little slower.

Re:Slightly Misleading (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958723)

You must be new here. If Slashdot posted an article saying "Court finds that Windows causes cancer of the scrotum", the first fifty posts would be "STUPAD JUDGIS! NE fool nowz it also cozes cancur ufthe ewturus!!!!!"

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959101)

You must be new here.

dAzED1 (33635)

he's obviously not new here.

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959095)

find a bicycle that is actually just the basic version of a car, then perhaps your argument might mean something. There is a version of Vista those machines would run with, and it is actually Vista...not DOS, not Win3.1, but Vista.

Yeah, more bullshit and liars games... I can take a piece of dog shit, stick it in a box and put a Vista sticker on it. If I advertise that I'm selling Vista for $10 and send you this box, was I honest, or was I not?

Similarly, Microsoft made a lot of grand claims about what Vista can do, in an effort to get people to upgrade. Now, it's one thing to say, "You need to pay for the top-of-the-line version if you wish to have access to all the functionality, but the only barrier holding you back from having access is your choice to pay for the extra features."

It's another thing to say "That Vista-Capable machine you bought is not capable of using the features that we advertised, sorry, we can sell you the upgraded software, but you won't be able to use it."

This is where the fine line between gouging and fraud lies. And they are very clearly on the fraud side of the line.

This whole thing stinks of bought and paid for...

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960003)

you don't like reading, do you - just making up ridiculous counter-arguments.

The way the case was presented, and the way fraud works anyway, the plaintiffs had to prove MS was unjustly enriched by the fraud, not just that the fraud occurred. That the machine is able to use Vista versus the alternative (XP) is an important, and meaningful, distinction. People wanting the world but wanting it for free is a sign of an upcoming revolution, not a sign of something we should pretend has any merit for an argument in a legal case in the current/old system. That the plaintiffs weren't equally affected negated the class-action nature of the case. And what would have been the end result, had this not occurred? Lots of rich lawyers, and consumers getting a few worthless coupons. Don't get hung up on a resolution system that would have been pointless even if MS lost the case.

Re:Slightly Misleading (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26960427)

Your logic and reasonable thinking has no place here on Slashdot. Any chance to bash Microsoft for any reason MUST be taken, no matter how difficult it is to prove any wrong doing on the part of MS.

Re:Slightly Misleading (3, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958637)

Nope. It does matter whether they paid more. They are claiming unjust enrichment which requires that MS profit from the deceptive practices. This means that it has to be shown (now on a case by case basis) that the plaintiffs actually paid more than they otherwise would for the deceptively marketed computers.

(IANAL, but I will be AL soon and I have a fair deal of experience with these sorts of consumer class actions. And this, of course, is not legal advice. Take my word for it: the federal court system is far less corrupt than you think it is [though YMMV with state and local courts].)

Does "deceptive mktg" require "unjust enrichment"? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958805)

When I first heard about the case, my assumption about the main thrust of the argument (since proven wrong) was that consumers were put through undue hassle and extra expense in having to replace the extrememly low-end and basically unusable "Vista Capable" machines. I always thought it was more of a classic "bait and switch", with the user being deliberately misled into buying something different from what was being described. Even if unjust enrichment were required for such a legal argument, it would thus come not from the overpricing of labeled machines, but from the purchase of additional replacement machines to achieve the actual level of functionality advertised by the labels. Is anyone taking this tack?

Also, does this mean that any deceptive labeling is now legally okay, provided that the labeled merchandise is not overpriced? That seems a very dubious legal outcome...

Curious,

Re:Does "deceptive mktg" require "unjust enrichmen (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958865)

That's a fair question. Once I'm able to find and read the actual order, I'll try to say something about that.

Re:Does "deceptive mktg" require "unjust enrichmen (2, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960295)

OK. So I've read the order now and here's the story:

Under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), one has to show not only that the practices at issue were deceptive, but that the deception injured the plaintiffs. Makes sense, I think.

The injury that these plaintiffs are alleging is having overpaid for their computers. That is, their computers were priced higher than they would have been had they not been advertised as Vista-Capable.

For class certification, of course, the plaintiffs have to show that this price inflation was uniform for all members of the class (in a nationwide class action lawsuit, this means they have to show that the prices were inflated throughout the US). And this is where they run into trouble, because MS has pointed out, and the judge has agreed, that the plaintiffs have not introduced any specific evidence that would indicate that this is the case (for example, they could have provided an economic study of the effect that a Vista-Capable certification has on the price of a PC, by way of supply and demand)

So, yes, the plaintiffs perhaps could have tried a different damage theory as you suggested (hassle of finding a replacement) but it looks like these didn't go that way.

And, yes, under the CPA at least, deceptive marketing in and of itself is OK, so long as it does not injure anyone. ...of course, I can't see why you would deceptively label something without intending to injure customers somehow.

(again, not legal advice and IANAL yet)

Re:Slightly Misleading (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958835)

Hi, I don't anal, but am bi-curious and use linux. I'm worried about it hurting. Do you have any advice for my first time?

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959159)

But they DID profit from the deceptive practices, it just wasn't in cash. As we know in products "buzz" is everything and by pushing out those machines as Vista when they weren't MSFT was able to hype Vista and say "See how many we have sold! It is very popular! You should buy it now!" just as they are doing right at this very moment with Vista Business which we all know is being bought by those wanting downgrades to XP, yet they are able to say "See how much more Vista is selling than XP at the same time? We have fixed all the problems now! It is very good! You should buy it!"

So MSFT did profit. And didn't the OEMs have to provide XP AND Vista for those machines? I bet those extra licenses weren't free. MSFT made the money alright, just as they are making the money now. By screwing customers with the POS that is Vista.

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959223)

No one is saying they didn't make money. (Though, I believe that it has to be at the expense of the plaintiffs, but I could be wrong.) No one is saying MS wasn't unjustly enriched , just that the plaintiffs will have to each show that they overpaid individually. Remember: THIS ISN'T OVER.

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959863)

This is my 02c,YMMV

It's 2c or $0.02, not 02c, and definitely not .02c.

-Rick

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958701)

Reading TFA, it sounds more and more like an egregious prosecutorial cock-up. As pdabbadabba notes below [slashdot.org] , the knuckleheaded prosecution argument is apparently that the "Vista Capable" machines were deliberately overpriced. IANAL, but simply logically speaking, it would seem to make more sense to argue that the labeling program was misleading, requiring lots of hassle and possible extra expense for consumers to return and / or replace the low-end, barely-usable "Vista Capable" machines with something that actually worked. Ah, well...

Cheers,

Re:Slightly Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959753)

While your analogy does use a car, it fails to cover class action, which is the topic of discussion.

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958533)

It was my assumption that the suit was over low end machines being labeled and sold as Vista capable when they shouldn't have been. Which would likely mean that the majority of people effected actually underpaid for what they were told was a Vista capable machine.

I was assuming that they would have to show that enough of the cases people purchased "Vista Capable" machines that were clearly not capable of running Vista in the marketed manner.

If they were trying to sell it to the judge as a matter of overpaying, I can see why it was tossed out. The only people who would have grounds in those cases would be the people who bought more expensive "Vista Capable" PCs before MS allowed manufacturers to label lower end machines as "Vista Capable", which would be significantly different than the other group of people who bought those low end machines that could not perform up to expectations.

-Rick

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958753)

Now the cases will proceed individually, with each plaintiff having to show individually that they overpaid.

"Hey, Vista has splashly effects"

"Hey, buy this laptop, it'll run Vista"

<hand over some money>

"wtf, this is not beefy enough to run the splashy effects! I paid for something I didn't get."

Re:Slightly Misleading (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958933)

Now the cases will proceed individually, with each plaintiff having to show individually that they overpaid.

"Hey, Vista has splashly effects"

"Hey, buy this laptop, it'll run Vista"

[hand over some money]

"wtf, this is not beefy enough to run the splashy effects! I paid for something I didn't get."

[Judge] Yeah, but I did suckers! Bwaahahaha!

[Judge drives off in new Bentley to mansion in the Hamptons]

Missing the point? (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958435)

I thought the point of the lawsuit was that people were fooled (allegedly!) into thinking that lesser-spec'd machines were capable of running many of Vista's better goodies, and not specifically that the machines they did buy were overpriced?

Is this a cock-up of the presentation by the plaintiffs or their reps?

Re:Missing the point? (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958863)

The complaint in the court of public opinion is that when Vista is marketed they talk about all the great shit it does on the highest end hardware and make it seem like you get that stuff if you get Vista. Lots of machines were sold as "Vista Capable" that couldn't do a bunch of that shit and on which Vista ran like a squashed turd (arguably it ran like that on anything without a special disk AND a special USB stick AND at least 4GB of memory until SP1 and now it's only a round turd so it can at least roll, in Windows 7 they made it into a sphere and it can roll in any direction) and people are upset that they fell for the marketing hype and now they want some free money. They can still run the same Vista-requiring programs, and the programs themselves have requirements on the box, which haven't changed. If there's no Vista requirements on the box, then perhaps you need to contact your vendor, and it's not Microsoft's fault.

Obviously I have my own opinion about this lawsuit. On one hand, as a marketing tactic it's kind of sleazy. On the other hand, the OEMs begged and pleaded with Microsoft to allow them to put the "Vista Ready" sticker on machines which don't support the full Vista "experience" (choke) and they eventually gave in; The OEMs deserve at least as much blame as the evil empire. On the gripping hand, the specifications of the machines and the requirements for Aero were made available to customers before purchase, and no fraudulent claims were made. Caveat Emptor, motherfuckers! Read the fucking specifications. Just because an operating system will run on your hardware, it doesn't mean you have access to all its features, and it never has. Windows Movie Maker might let you capture video, but if you don't have any video capture hardware, you probably can't use that feature.

People too stupid to read computer specifications and compare them to the required specifications should be given an Etch-a-Sketch and if they complain about its limitations, give them a fucking Speak and Spell. That ought to keep them busy for a while. I don't even expect them to understand what they're reading. Why do we expect a commercial to provide us with a full education on a product? The vendor in this case made available more than enough information for you to figure out whether you'd get the experience you were looking for out of given hardware. You might have to actually visit their site to gain an education though, and I could understand how all that clicking and reading could be too much for the average bozo to comprehend.

Re:Missing the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959047)

There's no law against overpricing something (except in times of emergency--see gouging.) The issue at hand is whether or not Microsoft profited from deceptive marketing due to the machines being labeled as "Vista-capable" but not being capable of running with the nice graphics.

And the lawsuit is going to go on--just not as a class action lawsuit. Due to variance in the market, people will have "overpaid" by significantly varying amounts.

Mighty Mouse was not Vista Capable (2, Funny)

inthedump (1484859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958437)

Darn, my mouse was not vista capable! I wasted $75 on this MightyMouse thinking its gonna run on my lovely Vista laptop. I'm filing a class-action suit for this, hopefully I should get my $$ back.

Re:Mighty Mouse was not Vista Capable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958957)

Hiya, obvious troll! Doing good obvious work these days?

The problem with that scenario is that the MightyMouse isn't plastered with stickers, logos, advertisements, and documentation saying it's compatible with Vista. These laptops were.

The situation is best described via a car analogy (surprise!). It's like a auto parts store claiming that a given air filter is the one for your car, but when you get it home and install it, it drastically reduces air flow to the engine, making it not run well. And when you take it back to the parts store, they tell you that it fits, so they're technically right and your SOL unless you buy a new car (or get a different air filter at your expense).

Your claim is like you went to a department store to install a toaster oven to the roof of your car, then you got mad that it didn't work right. Sure, a toaster oven does a good job where it should be, but it doesn't belong on the roof of a car (cue one bored geek eagerly showing pictures of his ToasterCar just to show me up).

Whats the point? (2, Interesting)

revisionz (82265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958441)

I was part of one of the previous class action suits. After years of waiting all I got was a coupon for a $15 discount on windows or office.

Re:Whats the point? (3, Funny)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958663)

I'm sure that lawsuit kept a number of lawyers, judges and other legal plankton fed for a while. Society thanks you for your contribution.

Re:Whats the point? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959545)

hey, someone's gotta keep the economy stimulated.

Re:Whats the point? (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959381)

You can get more by suing individually, but then you'd likely have to front the cost of a lawyer.

So, although the potential return is less for you in a class action suit, the risk is lower too, as you have almost no cost in joining.

(But it does annoy me when the result is a coupon whose face value is only useful if you actually wanted to buy a new product. The ones who probably win the most in these cases are the lawyers who take a percentage of the whole ... and I'm guessing they're not paid in coupons)

So in summary . . . (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958453)

The plaintiffs can still proceed with their individual lawsuits against MS. Class action would have had much more dire consequences against MS and more bad publicity. Class action would have brought more willing lawyers as there would have been the chance of a large settlement. MS can settle with the individual plaintiffs and quietly make this thing go away.

FTA: (1)

jlb0057 (1143241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958499)

Judge Pechman said the plaintiffs could continue with the lawsuit on a case-by-case basis.

This would seem to effectively kill the lawsuit. Most who would bring an individual suit likely are either running a different OS already or are oblivious to the "Vista capable" issue.

The issue was never about users paying more... (2, Informative)

laing (303349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958507)

The issue was about users getting a POS that wouldn't give them the minimum acceptable user experience. It has been proven that Microsoft lowered their standards after caving into hardware vendors who wanted to dump their inventory. This was deceptive to the consumers who had been informed of Microsoft's assurances about "Vista Ready" and as a result they spent their money on something that was less useful than they expected. An almost identical scenario occurred during the USB 1.0 to USB 2.0 transition. The USB consortium (HP, Compaq, Toshiba, etc.) decided to re-number the specs so USB 1.1 could be called USB 2.0 (full speed). USB 2.0 got renamed to "high speed". Everybody who was waiting to buy hardware that supported USB 2.0 ran out and bought it even though it still only ran at 11 megabits. This judge is either brain dead or corrupt.

that's not the issue they sued over, though (2, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959081)

Maybe that's the issue you had a problem with, but the judge can only really rule on the issue the plaintiffs brought up. Their case did not allege "users getting a POS that wouldn't give them the minimum acceptable user experience". Instead, the case alleged "unjust enrichment" on the part of Microsoft, which requires showing that Microsoft made more money via the allegedly misleading behavior than they would have otherwise.

Re:that's not the issue they sued over, though (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959571)

right. if anyone made extra money, it was the manufacturers who were able to clear out their stock of PC's with substandard hardware. They'd have had to take a huge loss on a lot of that inventory if they couldn't have put Vista on it.

Class-action capable (2, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958555)

I think the problem is really that their lawsuit was not class-action capable...

I needed the money! (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958617)

This is so disappointing! I mean, after the lawyers take their fees and after I spend a half hour filling out the forms, I was expecting that $1.87! Now, I'll have to return that bottle of Coke I bought with my expected winnings.

Re:I needed the money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958771)

Don't worry, Obama's got your back with the tax cuts.

Re:I needed the money! (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958887)

maybe you should file a class action suit for that.

It was about the features (2, Informative)

seroph (414622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958643)

The case was dismissed because the low end laptops were "Vista Capable" but there was also a "Premium Ready" sticker on other models. It was a case of read the fine print.

http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE51I4KF20090219 [reuters.com]

They are probably better off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26958709)

Class action lawsuits are a sham that benefit no one but the lawyers.

You individually have a case or you don't.

Not a Surprise (1, Informative)

default luser (529332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958783)

These were bottom-rung machines bought by people who didn't give a shit. All they wanted was a computar thingy to access thar intarwebs.

When people like this walk into these stores to buy the cheapest computer they can, nothing can move that mountain. You can tell them time and time again that the performance will suck, that it won't work with newer operating systems, and they still won't pony up another dollar.

Face it, Vista got a bad name for three reasons:

1. The lowest-end computers certified to run it were not really capable (since fixed).

2. Nvidia's drivers sucked for the first 6 months.

3. The I/O subsystem was poorly designed (fixed in SP1), and the virtualization of video memory was a poor idea for Vista-32 [anandtech.com] that makes game memory usage balloon (hence the higher memory requirements for games under Vista, and problems running out of memory that players don't see on XP). REALITY: Vista should have pushed 64-bit as the primary OS.

Only one of the above was really under Microsoft's control.

Re:Not a Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26959241)

Well, the first point is actually under Microsoft's control. I'm not a linux fanboy, but I have to admit that you can install it on any system, and get it to turn reasonably well. Which Vista couldn't.
The second point is also partially under Microsoft's control, they could have put some pressure on Nvidia to get the drivers finished, or keep some backward-compatibility in the drivers.

Re:Not a Surprise (4, Insightful)

Darth (29071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959563)

Face it, Vista got a bad name for three reasons:

1. The lowest-end computers certified to run it were not really capable (since fixed).

Microsoft ran the certification program that certified those low end computers as being capable of running vista. This was under Microsoft's control.

2. Nvidia's drivers sucked for the first 6 months.

While Nvidia's drivers sucking is not under Microsoft's direct control, the certification program that signs the drivers for use in Vista is. Were those drivers signed?
I will agree that the signing of the drivers doesn't necessarily mean that they don't suck, just that they wont harm your system; so in that way this one really shouldn't be Microsoft's responsibility as long as the drivers weren't actually destructive.

3. The I/O subsystem was poorly designed (fixed in SP1), and the virtualization of video memory was a poor idea for Vista-32 [anandtech.com] that makes game memory usage balloon (hence the higher memory requirements for games under Vista, and problems running out of memory that players don't see on XP). REALITY: Vista should have pushed 64-bit as the primary OS.

clearly Microsoft's fault.

Only one of the above was really under Microsoft's control.

Two of them. Why do you think the first one is not Microsoft's fault?

I also don't agree that these are the only reasons Vista got a bad name, but I'm leaving that part alone.

Re:Not a Surprise (1)

kwub (1237296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959605)

These were bottom-rung machines bought by people who didn't give a shit. All they wanted was a computar thingy to access thar intarwebs.

When people like this walk into these stores to buy the cheapest computer they can, nothing can move that mountain. You can tell them time and time again that the performance will suck, that it won't work with newer operating systems, and they still won't pony up another dollar.

This was not remotely the norm in my experience as an Easy Tech salesman at Staples. The vast majority of customers (including many on tight budgets) did not want a "bare minimum" machine if there was a reasonably superior alternative available within a few hundred dollars of the price tag. And if people do come in intending to buy the cheapest piece of junk available (regardless of performance), it's the job of the salesman to put the (healthy) fear of God into them about the nightmare of running Vista on those dinosaurs.

Makes at least some sense. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26958811)

This laptop has a Vista capable sticker. I didn't know that before I bought it.

is www.microsoft.com down ? (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959347)

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/feb09/02-22elevateamericapr.mspx [microsoft.com]

Firefox can't find the server at www.microsoft.com.

Re:is www.microsoft.com down ? (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26959719)

Check if it is down here. [downforeve...justme.com]

Why did they bother? (2, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26960057)

This lawsuit was a joke. For once I have to say I'm happy Microsoft won.

Why?

Simple.

There is nothing wrong with advertising a PC as "Vista Capable".

Even if it only runs Basic Home Edition of Vista, certainly it doesn't contradicted its ability as being "Vista Capable".

Furthermore, retailers and manufacturers who have been pushing Vista with their products (PCs, laptops, notebooks, etc...) have usually also made sure that they recommended their products with words such as "runs best with (insert flavor of Vista)".

This is one of those times where clearly, greed was the only reason for this lawsuit.

On another note, the cost of a laptop being "Vista Capable" and how much they overpaid? Oye Vay! Are they retarded? Even I know there are no collation between a product being branded as "Vista Capable" and a higher cost of purchase. If anything, I recall laptops being sold for like 400$ with Vista Basic. Dirt Cheap.

Now, let's not think I like Vista, heck no, in my honest opinion, it's a crappy product, but, this isn't about what I like, it's just about being fair.

Again, this lawsuit and the people behind it are just trying to make a quick buck on Microsoft by conning the system.

What a waste of time and resources...

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