Microsoft’s “Vista Capable” program was so misleading that even Microsoft executives complained about it according to emails revealed last week in court. The emails were read aloud at a hearing to determine class-action status for a related lawsuit against the company. One corporate vice president wrote, “”I PERSONALLY got burnt. … Are we seeing this from a lot of customers? … I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine.” The co-president of another division wrote, “We really botched this. … You guys have to do a better job with our customers.”
The suit claims Microsoft “knowingly misled consumers by allowing PC makers to emblazon ‘Windows Vista Capable’ stickers on PCs that could run only the most bare-bones version of the operating system,” and last week’s hearing was to determine whether the suit can be granted class-action status. Microsoft says the emails were part of a much larger discussion and perfectly normal.
Amusingly, Microsoft is using the complex, confusing marketing scheme as an argument against class-action status, by saying that each consumer had different information available when making his purchase and therefore can’t be grouped together:
“For instance, a Microsoft Web site provided information about the various editions of Vista, while magazines, blogs and even some retailers also explained the distinctions.”
The judge is expected to issue a ruling on the status of the case later this month.