PC owners are in the midst of a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft (MSFT) over whether computers that were certified as “Vista Capable” can actually run Vista — or at least the “Premium” version with the snazzy new “Aero” user interface. Those who were hoping for the discovery of super-scandalous emails showing that Microsoft lied about Vista’s capabilities, however, will so far be disappointed.
Here’s the story: Microsoft scaled back the original requirements of what it takes to be “Vista capable” from its original specs as a favour to Intel (INTC), which had a backlog of chips (the 915 series) it wanted certified for the 2006 holiday season. Microsoft’s decision to lower the bar on “Vista ready” specs and allow underpowered computers to come to market almost certainly added to the public perception that Vista is slow.
Lawsuits mean discovery, and last night 252 pages of Microsoft internal emails on the “Vista capable” controversy got released. The Seattle Times has wasted a day poring through them, and, so far, it hasn’t found much. One Microsoft executive disagreed with the move to certify the Intel chips and Jim Allchin didn’t know about it. Big whoop.
- Microsoft manager Rajesh Srinivasan: “The 915 chipset for mobile does not provide an ‘optimal Windows Vista experience’ and this is clearly misleading. It should not even be in the list of recommended hardware for Windows Vista,” he wrote.
- Previous Windows boss Jim Allchin seemed to be out of the loop. “I knew nothing about this,” Alchin wrote to Windows Client chief Will Poole, who signed off on the change.. “Will, you need to explain. I don’t even understand what this means,”
- Desktop maker HP was livid over the change. The company had invested heavily to bring a line of computers that conformed to Microsoft’s original standards to market.
Intel, for its part, doesn’t seem overly gracious given the pains Microsoft took to accomodate them. In June the company decided not to upgrade the computers of its own 80,000 employees to Vista, saying there was “no compelling case” to do so.
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