Microsoft Wins 'Vista Capable' Round One

If the <a href="http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2009/01/what_are_the_da.html">"Vista Capable" lawsuit</a> can be described as a boxing match, it's clear that Microsoft has won the latest round on points. True, the company <a href="http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/operatingsystems/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=214501825">failed to win an outright dismissal of the case</a>, but they dodged the possibility of a class-action suit. That's a big win.

Dave Methvin, Contributor

February 21, 2009

1 Min Read

If the "Vista Capable" lawsuit can be described as a boxing match, it's clear that Microsoft has won the latest round on points. True, the company failed to win an outright dismissal of the case, but they dodged the possibility of a class-action suit. That's a big win.Lawyers love class-action lawsuits. By aggregating lots of plantiffs, law firms often can make tens of millions of dollars off a single class-action lawsuit. Consumers, on the other hand, are lucky to score a voucher of some kind that's good for a discount on a future purchase, or -- if they're really lucky -- a real check for perhaps $25.

One of the interesting points of this round: the judge said the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that the "Vista Capable" program increased sales of Windows Vista. If that program wasn't a common reason for consumers to purchase Vista, then it didn't justify class-action status. I have to agree with the judge here. In an earlier blog entry, I questioned the number of people who could really claim damages.

So how many people did buy an XP-based system labeled "Vista Capable" and later found their coveted Vista upgrade wouldn't provide all the Vista features because of hardware deficiencies? At the moment, there are only six people who filed these suits. That's a number I can believe; maybe it's 10 or perhaps 100 times bigger than that, but I doubt it's in the thousands. The judge is allowing the six plaintiffs to continue with their individual cases, so there are at least a few more rounds to go in this slow-motion Microsoft-Intel PR disaster.

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