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Microsoft: 'Windows Vista Capable' Definition Hasn't Changed

A writer for the Seattle Times, Microsoft's hometown paper, says the software company has changed the definition of "Windows Vista Capable."

Editor's Note: This story was updated April 11 to reflect the proper name of Microsoft's program for indicating which PCs are capable of handling Windows Vista.

Microsoft is denying a report in a Seattle newspaper that it has adopted new language to describe what's needed to successfully boot some of the more advanced parts of its new Windows Vista operating system as a result of a consumer lawsuit.

"Our language has been consistent all along; we haven't changed anything," a Microsoft spokesman said Tuesday.

An explanation of Microsoft's "Windows Vista Capable" program posted on the company's Web site states: "Some features available in the premium editions of Windows Vista -- like the new Windows Aero user experience -- may require advanced or additional hardware."

Aero features 3-D windows that allow users to more easily navigate through multiple documents or Web browsers.

Previously, Microsoft did not specifically mention that Aero fell outside of what it considers to be Windows Vista's core functions, according to a report that appeared last week in the Seattle Times, Microsoft's hometown paper.

In a blog, Times staff writer Brier Dudley said Microsoft's "language has changed" and that "the core has shifted."

Dudley reported that the software maker's previous definition of "Windows Vista Capable" stated only that: "The Windows Vista Capable logo is designed to assure customers that the PCs they buy today will be ready for an upgrade to Windows Vista and can run the core experiences of Windows Vista."

Microsoft's spokesman said Dudley was comparing language that appeared on a press release to language on the Windows Vista Capable Web site. "The Web site hasn't changed since the program was launched last year, with the exception of tenses that reflect the fact that the product is now available," the spokesman said.

In his blog, Dudley said he suspected Microsoft changed its Windows Vista Capable marketing language in response to a recent lawsuit.

In the suit, Dianne Kelley of Camano Island, Wash., claims many PCs labeled as Windows Vista Capable before the operating system hit stores in January were hardly that. Microsoft assured consumers "that they were purchasing Vista capable machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped down operating system," according to the complaint, filed last month.

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