Microsoft Sued Over 'Windows Vista Ready' Sales Campaign

The lawsuit claims some computers sold as Vista-ready were capable of only running a basic version of the operating system.
A consumer who claims she was the victim of "bait and switch" sales tactics by Microsoft has filed a proposed class action suit against the software maker, alleging that it used deceptive marketing tactics to promote its new Windows Vista operating system.

In the suit, Dianne Kelley, of Camano Island, Wash., claims many personal computers labeled as "Windows Vista ready" 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 week.

In contention is the very definition of Windows Vista itself. Kelley argues that some computers sold as Vista-ready were capable of only running a basic version of the operating system that lacks all of Vista's defining features -- such as the space-age Aero interface, Flip 3-D navigation tools, and Media PC capabilities.

On its Web site, Microsoft states that the Home Basic edition of Windows Vista must run on a PC that has at least an 800-MHz processor, 512 Mbytes of system memory, and a graphics processor that is Direct X 9 compatible. In contrast, premium editions of the operating system require at least a 1-GHz processor, 1 Gbyte of system memory, and a 40-Gbyte hard drive with 15 Gbytes of free space to run properly.

Microsoft said its Vista ready campaign included a Vista Premium Ready marketing effort that clearly stated the differences between the various versions of the operating system and the hardware needed to run them.

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