Judge makes 'Vista Capable' lawsuit a class action affair

The ruling is a setback for Microsoft in fight over Vista marketing

A US federal judge in Seattle last week granted class-action status to a 2007 lawsuit that claimed Microsoft defrauded consumers by promoting PCs as "Vista Capable" when some could run only the most basic version of the then-still-unreleased operating system.

US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman, however, also put some limitations on the plaintiffs, blocking them, for instance, from arguing that Microsoft deceived consumers because that would require an individual determination for each person included in the class action.

Instead, said Pechman, the lawsuit may pursue a "price inflation" line of reasoning, which would argue that PC buyers paid more than they would have had not Microsoft's marketing boosted demand and increased prices of systems able to run Vista Home Basic, the lowest-priced and simplest edition.

In agreeing that the class-action suit could move forward on that basis, Pechman summarized the argument. "Plaintiffs argue that Microsoft artificially inflated demand for computers only capable of running Vista Home Basic, causing Plaintiffs to pay more for those PCs than they would have without the 'Windows Vista Capable' campaign," she wrote in her 25-page opinion. "Consumers paid for Vista capability (i.e., the computers were priced higher because of their Vista capability), but allegedly did not receive 'real' Vista capability."

The decision was a setback to Microsoft, which now faces a much larger potential pool of plaintiffs.

The original lawsuit, filed almost a year ago by Washington state resident Diane Kelley, charged Microsoft with deceptive practices in letting PC makers slap a "Vista Capable" sticker on PCs, when "a large number" of the machines would be able to run only Vista Home Basic. Kelley was later joined by a Californian, Kenneth Hansen. Together, they had requested class action status for the lawsuit in November.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?