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Mailbag: Your Verdicts on 'Vista Capable' Suit

Within 24 hours of releasing an item on the Vista Capable program, I got 25 e-mails from Redmond Report readers -- which may well be a record. Thanks to all who wrote! We'll run as many of these letters as we can, so check in tomorrow for more:

Microsoft should win this suit. Who buys because a sticker on the box says it can do something? Most of us read reviews first and check the specs. But then, phishing scams wouldn't work if everyone was that way.

Microsoft should lose this case. If the logo is "Vista Capable," then it should apply to any Vista product. Microsoft should have incorporated it for the computer hardware that could run any of the Vista products.

It is definitely a misleading statement and users don't need the frustration in these trying times. It might direct them to the nearest Mac.

My own feeling is that Microsoft ought to lose this one. It quite obviously betrayed its own standards by lowering the specifications it set for qualifying for the label to apparently help Intel meet its quarterly financial target. HP apparently thought it was a rotten deal. I doubt if it's the only one. Even though I use Vista on my personal desktop and notebook PCs and really have no complaints about it, I think that the sooner Microsoft can successfully leave Vista in the rearview mirror, the better it will be for us all.

Notice I said successfully; Microsoft really has to succeed with Windows 7. Maybe it could be called the "Magnificent 7." Do you think that name would raise the bar too high? The current promotional campaign isn't hitting a note with me. Life without walls? What kind of nonsense is that? If you don't have walls, you don't have anywhere to hang your Windows. Truly goofy.

"Vista Capable" should mean what it says. I think of this as a consumer-satisfaction issue. Everyone who buys one of these "Vista Capable" machines and tries to use it to run anything but Vista Basic is going to be a dissatisfied customer -- dissatisfied with the computer company and with Microsoft. Eventually, they will turn to another company, as they should.

Any company that doesn't put their customers' best interests first (like GM with its gas-hogs) deserves what will inevitably happen: going bust! And it is beyond comprehension that today's "captains of industry" continue to behave as stupidly as their predecessors.

It would seem to me that if it is advertised as "Vista Capable," it should run any version of Vista. If it only runs one version of Vista, then the software company has a legal obligation to say so. That is why some cars require premium fuel, even when they will probably run OK on regular.

It is good of you to offer Microsoft cover, but it would have been better if the company showed real concern for the customers. It seems to be more concerned with damage control than making this right. It is not like it does not have the money to fix this. If a system won't run Vista, say so. If it only runs Vista Basic, say so. Microsoft knows when it is being deceptive. So do you.

I may not fully understand all aspects of the issue, but it seems to me that if a machine is only capable of running Vista Basic, then the labeling should say "Vista Basic Capable" or "Vista Basic Compatible" or, better yet, "WARNING: This machine is only rated for Vista Basic. Other versions of Vista have not been certified to operate on this machine."

If I bought a new machine that had a label saying "Vista Capable," I would be invited to purchase or upgrade to a version of Vista that has the features that I want to use. If those features did not work, then I would certainly want to sue somebody, either Microsoft or the machine manufacturer who misled me with the ambiguous label.

In the early days of Vista Ultimate, I loaded it onto the only expendable computer I had access to at work. It was a P4 1.8 GHZ with 512MB of RAM and a 40GB HDD. I dual-booted this with XP Pro so I could have a look at Vista, locations of user files and other functions. By the way, the computer had on-board video, networking. Though with an experience rating of 1, I would say it was barely capable.

Maybe the ratings could have been simplified to "Capable" (eventually runs Vista) or "Ready" (will run Vista properly).

Throughout its history, Microsoft has been misleading the business world and consumers. It knew perfectly well the implication of this label, yet it did it anyway without any form of disclaimer. "Vista Capable" means to most consumers that the computer can run Vista no matter which version. I am sure there are many consumers who probably didn't even realize there were, in fact, multiple versions when it first came out. I just cannot wait until this excuse of an OS passes by.

Join the fray! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on November 19, 2008


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