Class action suit: Microsoft used deceptive marketing

A class action suit was filed against Microsoft, charging the company with deceptive marketing related to Vista

Microsoft unfairly labeled PCs "Windows Vista Capable" even when the computers could only run the most basic form of the operating system, according to a lawsuit filed against the software giant on Thursday.

Prior to the availability of Vista, Microsoft launched a marketing campaign that allowed PC makers to place a sticker on computers alerting potential buyers that they could upgrade to Vista when it became available. However, "a large number" of those PCs were only capable of running the Home Basic version of Vista, which lacks many of the features, such as media center and enhanced graphics, that Microsoft advertises as included in Vista, the suite alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeks class action status and asks for damages. The suit notes that the amount in controversy exceeds US$5 million and that the size of the class likely exceeds 10,000 people.

Many of the machines with the Vista label cannot run or poorly run Home Premium, the least expensive version of Vista that includes most of the heavily advertised features, the suit says.

In addition, when Microsoft later offered buyers of "Windows Vista Capable" computers free or reduced-price upgrades to Vista, the company offered Home Basic to many customers. "In sum, Microsoft engaged in bait and switch--assuring consumers they were purchasing 'Vista Capable' machines when, in fact, the could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as 'Vista'," the suit reads.

Microsoft argues that it "conducted a broad effort to educate computer manufacturers, retailers and consumers about the hardware requirements to run different versions of Windows Vista," said Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesperson, in an e-mailed statement. That program is well-documented and the information can still be found online. The company will present this information and address other issues in the suit in court, he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?