Judge gives Microsoft big win in 'Vista Capable' case

Strips class-action status from the case; plaintiffs must sue Microsoft separately

A federal judge Wednesday stripped class-action status from the "Vista Capable" lawsuit that has plagued Microsoft for nearly two years, but will allow the plaintiffs to continue to sue the company separately.

The split decision does not put an end to the lawsuit, but it will make it much more difficult for consumers to press their cases.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft applauded the news. "We're pleased that the court granted our motion to decertify the class, leaving only the claims of six individuals," said Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster in an e-mail late Wednesday. "We look forward to presenting our case to the jury, should the plaintiffs elect to pursue their individual claims."

In a ruling on two motions that Microsoft made in November, US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman granted a motion to decertify the class but denied the company's motion for summary judgment.

The consumers who brought the original lawsuit, and those who followed as members of the class action, will be free to continue their cases, but they will have to do it individually, not as a group, Pechman said. "Approximately one year ago, this Court certified a class in this matter and allowed Plaintiffs 'to further develop their price inflation theory,'" Pechman said. "It is now apparent that class treatment is no longer appropriate."

Later in the ruling, she spelled out what that meant: "Plaintiffs may only pursue their claims individually."

Pechman's ruling comes almost exactly a year after she granted the case class-action status. At that time, she said that the plaintiffs could not collectively claim that Microsoft had deceived them with its Vista Capable marketing program, since that would have required an individual determination for each member of the class. Instead, said Pechman, they could pursue a "price inflation" line of reasoning, which would argue that PC buyers paid more than they would have otherwise, after Microsoft's campaign boosted demand and increased the prices of systems that could run Vista Home Basic.

On Wednesday Pechman shot down the price inflation concept, saying that the plaintiffs had failed to prove any inflation existed. "Plaintiffs evidence fails to establish class-wide causation because it does not attempt [to] identify a specific shift in the demand for Vista Capable PCs," Pechman said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags vista capable lawsuit

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?