Microsoft challenges 'Vista Capable' class action

Wants to put the kibosh on document disclosure, reputation besmirchment

Microsoft on Friday asked that a lawsuit claiming it duped consumers in a Windows Vista marketing program be suspended while the company appeals a judge's decision to grant the case class-action status.

If granted, the motion would also postpone any new disclosures of potentially embarrassing company e-mails. Last month, the release of similar documents showed that top-level company executives struggled with the new operating system on machines labeled "Vista Capable," and that partners such as Dell warned Microsoft that the campaign would confuse consumers.

Friday, Microsoft petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear its challenge of the case's class-action status, which was granted two weeks ago by US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman. The company also filed a separate motion with Pechman on Thursday, asking her to stay the lawsuit's proceedings pending the appeal.

"Continued proceedings here would cost Microsoft a substantial sum of money for discovery and divert key personnel from full-time tasks," said Charles Wright, an attorney for Microsoft, in the motion to suspend the case. "[It] would intrude on sensitive pricing decisions and strategies by OEMs, wholesalers, and retailers; and would jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill with class members -- all with respect to claims that might not proceed on a class basis at all."

The papers filed with Pechman claimed that Microsoft had already produced nearly 50,000 pages of internal documents as part of the lawsuit's discovery process. Continuing the case pending appeal would likely mean disclosing even more documents. If the class-action status is denied on appeal, Microsoft argued, the money spent digging up messages and memos would have been wasted, and any negative publicity generated needlessly.

Microsoft painted a picture of business secrets made public and damage done to its reputation. "Plaintiffs' discovery almost surely will involve intrusion into the most sensitive pricing decisions of the OEMs, wholesalers, and retailers who sell the PCs at issue and set their prices," said the motion. "Continued discovery thus will disrupt Microsoft's relationships with its business partners, a disruption that will be unnecessary if the Ninth Circuit reverses."

Wright also contended that because the plaintiffs will have to do a national search for consumers who can join the class action, Microsoft might get a black eye for no reason. "The result will be nationwide publicity that impugns the [Windows Vista Capable] program," read the filing. "Although Microsoft fully expects to vindicate the program in the course of this litigation, allowing notice to proceed in the face of the pending appeal will jeopardize Microsoft's goodwill based on an Order that, Microsoft respectfully contends, might be held erroneous from its inception."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?