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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?