Microsoft accused of 'deceptive' Vista ads

Before the release of Windows Vista, hardware vendors stickered new machines as 'Windows Vista Capable' or 'Windows Vista Premium Ready'

The Windows Vista advertising campaign seemed fairly innocuous to us. But for group of US customers it seems the words 'Windows Vista Capable' only conjure up bile and fury. Indeed, they took such exception to pre-launch machines being labelled as such that they've launched a class action lawsuit against Microsoft.

Before the release of Windows Vista , hardware vendors stickered new machines as 'Windows Vista Capable' or 'Windows Vista Premium Ready.' It's the former that is the problem; the corporation has been accused of wrongly stating 'Capable' machines can run higher-end versions of the OS.

The suit has been filed in the Western District of Washington on behalf of 10,000 people. The obscene claim for damages is in excess of $5 million and alleges 'Capable' laptops are only good enough to run Windows Vista Home Basic. It also states that it was unreasonable of Microsoft to expect consumers to have a full understanding of what the 'Capable' moniker means.

Windows Home Basic eschews the flowery add-ons to the operating system, such as Windows Aero, the snazzy interface unlike the higher-end variants of the operating system. The lawsuit alleges other versions of the OS just don't work well on 'Capable' laptops.

Microsoft denies the claims - as, indeed, it would. One of the corporation's lawyers spoke to the Seattle Post Intelligencer :

"The facts are just very different from what's alleged in the complaint. ... Microsoft conducted a very broad and unprecedented effort to educate not just consumers who were going to buy our products, but the PC manufacturers and retailers who sold computers to understand the hardware requirements to run the various flavours of the Windows Vista operating system."


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.