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New Potential Villain in 'Vista Capable' Case

The revelations from the ongoing and high-profile Vista Capable class action lawsuit against Microsoft continue. (Check out the entire litany of subpoenaed e-mails in a huge PDF file here.) Apparently, a surprisingly (to us, anyway) large percentage of Vista crashes in the operating system's early months were caused by dodgy drivers from NVIDIA.

This lawsuit thing just gets better and better -- it's full of hilarious e-mails, revelations of decisions that favored one partner over another (Intel seems to have benefited, while HP kind of got the shaft) and vendors on the block for supposedly coming up with faulty drivers or no drivers at all. Highly entertaining, the whole thing. But is this scenario all that unusual, really?

We wonder, and we really don't think that it is. Microsoft is a big company, and Vista is a big, complicated product. We're guessing that a lot of "compromises" happen between vendors and partners in the engineering and marketing of major releases, and we know that the first release of any product -- especially an OS -- can be buggy, to say the least.

All we're seeing with this lawsuit is how the sausage got made (a process once explained to your editor in excruciating detail by a well-meaning woman from the South of France...over lunch) and how it always gets made. The fact that the sausage itself (Vista) is mostly still sitting in the butcher's freezer rather than being gobbled up by hungry consumers and enterprises is probably the result of a combination of factors, only a few of which were revealed in the lawsuit's e-mail collection.

In other words, while the e-mails from the lawsuit are great entertainment (seriously, print them out and read them on your next flight), we really doubt that they reveal business practices that are all that out of the ordinary for Microsoft or for any other big technology vendor. And if Vista isn't a success, its relative failure is down to more than just a botched marketing campaign -- a lot more, actually.

What we're wondering, though, is whether the Vista Capable saga has shaken your faith in Microsoft and the way it does business or has changed your view of the company at all. How much do you care about this lawsuit and its implications, and what's your reaction to it? Sound off to RCPU at [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on March 31, 2008