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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?