Microsoft is being sued over its marketing practices. A lawsuit filed on behalf of a PC buyer alleges the company engaged in deceptive practices by letting PC makers promotes computers as “Windows Vista Capable” despite the fact that the machines were not capable of running the “signature” features of Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system.
The lawsuit was filed against the Microsoft in US District Court in Seattle on behalf of Dianne Kelley of Camano Island. The lawsuit alleges that machines being sold in the market carrying the “Windows Vista Capable” are essentially only capable of running the bare-bones Windows Vista Home Basic version, which lack support for the Aero Glass, Flip3D and other features. The complaint seeks class certification and unspecified damages.
“All the ‘wow’ stuff that Microsoft is selling and marketing is present in (Windows Vista Home) Premium, but it’s not present in Basic,” said Michael Rosenberger, one of the lawyers representing Kelley in the case.
Linda Norman, a Microsoft associate general counsel responded in a statement: “We feel as a company we went beyond what we’ve ever done to try to educate people so that they understood and could make the right purchase decision.”
The company “conducted a very broad and unprecedented effort” to help PC makers, retailers and consumers “understand the hardware requirements to run the various flavors of the Windows Vista operating system,” said Norman.
While Microsoft created a premium designation of Windows Vista “Premium Ready” to indicate that a machine was capable of running the operating system’s advanced features and was made available for PC makers and retailers to use in places such as computer boxes and in-store marketing materials, that distinction wasn’t made in the general “Windows Vista Capable” stickers.
The complaint further states: “In sum, Microsoft engaged in bait and switch – assuring consumers they were purchasing ‘Vista Capable’ machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as ‘Vista’”. As a result, the suit said, people were buying machines that couldn’t run “the real Vista.”