Dell pointed out Vista mistakes, internal docs show

Late changes, confusing marketing, doubting vendors contributed to Vista stumbles

Last-minute changes to Windows Vista broke drivers, forcing key hardware vendors to "limp out with issues" when the OS launched last year, according to a presentation by Dell that was made public last week.

"Late OS code changes broke drivers and applications, forcing key commodities to miss launch or limp out with issues," said one slide in a Dell presentation dated March 25, 2007, about two months after Vista's launch at retail and availability on new PCs.

The criticism was just one of many under the heading "What did not go well?" Others ranged from knocks against Vista's Windows Anytime Upgrade scheme, an in-place upgrade option, to several slams on "Windows Vista Capable," the marketing program that targeted PC buyers shopping for machines in the months leading up to Vista's debut.

Dell's postmortem, in fact, was one of several after-launch appraisals included in the 158 pages of e-mails and other documents unsealed last week in a class-action lawsuit over Vista Capable.

"Stronger messaging regarding hardware requirements (the bar was set too low when Aero was dropped as a requirement for Vista Capable)," Dell's presentation noted in another slide.

That response wouldn't have come as a surprise to Microsoft. Dell had voiced its dissatisfaction with Microsoft's marketing plans a year and a half earlier. In August 2005, Gretchen Miller, Dell's director of mobile marketing -- responsible for the Texas company's laptop marketing -- gave feedback to Microsoft on its Vista programs.

"[The dual logo] adds another level of complexity to an already complex story, which in turn will create confusion for our customers, both corporate and consumer," said Miller in an e-mail. Although Dell advised Microsoft to scale back the logos, the software developer eventually went ahead with its plans for two stickers, once that announced a PC was "Vista Capable," the other advertising that the system was "Vista Premium Ready."

Dell also used the March 2007 presentation to call out other things it thought Microsoft got wrong in the push for Vista. "Windows Automatic Update was not what was advertised and has lead to a number of poor customer experiences," Dell charged. "Upgrade program needs a complete overhaul."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

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.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?