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Allchin, Nash Questioned 'Vista Capable' Label

E-mails that have come to light in the ongoing suit against Microsoft regarding its "Vista Capable" and "Vista Ready" labels for PCs show that even prominent executives within the company questioned the plan.

As reported by the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Joseph Tartakoff, the plantiffs' attorneys introduced the e-mails in court on Friday, including one from former Co-President Jim Allchin that read, "We really botched this. ... You guys have to do a better job with our customers."

"I PERSONALLY got burnt," wrote Corporate Vice President of Windows Product Management Mike Nash in another e-mail. "Are we seeing this from a lot of customers? ... I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine."

A third e-mail from an unidentified employee read: "Even a piece of junk will qualify," according to Tartakoff's report.

The proposed class-action lawsuit charging Microsoft with deceptive advertising practices was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District, Washington soon after Microsoft launched the logos more than a year ago.

Most of the accusations appear to be leveled against the Vista Capable logo, designed to identify PCs that met the operating system's basic requirements for the most basic version: Vista Home. Microsoft, which denies any wrongdoing, changed the way it ranked hardware for Vista last year.

This isn't the first evidence to surface indicating that Microsoft's own employees were confused by the scheme: In November, plantiffs' attorneys showed that even the marketing director in charge of the logos got confused about their meaning while being interviewed in preparation for the trial, and later had to go back and change his testimony.

Microsoft representatives told Tartakoff that it is not worried about the e-mails: "The e-mails cited in today's hearing are...really just snippets of a broad and thorough review."

The hearing Friday was held to determine whether the case would be granted class-action status. A ruling is expected in approximately 10 days, according to the report.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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