Microsoft's own analyst warned about Vista, low-cost laptops

He read the tea leaves correctly, but nothing changed

More than two years before Microsoft extended Windows XP's lifespan so makers of new low-cost laptops could install the operating system, a company analyst had warned that Vista's "harsher" system requirements might mean trouble, according to internal e-mails.

The messages were among the hundreds made public by a federal judge two months ago, in a case where consumers have accused Microsoft with misleading PC buyers with its "Vista Capable" program in the months leading up to the operating system's release. Recently, that judge suspended the lawsuit while another court hears Microsoft's appeal of the decision to grant the case class-action status.

In early 2006, Gregg Daugherty, an analyst in Microsoft's hardware group, told Windows marketing executives that the personal computer market was skewing toward less-expensive laptops. "We all know laptops are growing, but I'm struck by the magnitude, especially in the home," said Daugherty in an e-mail on Feb. 28, 2006.

"I'm especially taken by the fact sub-$1,000 laptops are now 50 percent of the home laptop market, and in Dec.'05, accounted for 26 percent of all retail computers sold," he added. Daugherty sent that message and others to a list that included Mike Sievert, then the head of Windows marketing, and Brad Goldberg, who was general manager of Windows product management at the time.

Daugherty followed with a list of questions for the marketing team that revolved around the shift in sales to notebooks and Vista. Among the most pointed was one about Vista's hardware specifications.

"Aren't system requirements for Vista on laptops harsher than today, when XP Home works easily on these low cost models?" Daugherty asked.

Later the same day, Daugherty wrote another message, this time to an expanded list of recipients. "I may be wrong on the sys requirements, but I believe XP didn't have the same constraints we'll see in Vista AND we've never before had the ultra cheap laptop phenomena going on," he said.

Several replies to Daugherty's questions were among the insider e-mails unsealed by US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman in February. For the most part, executives dismissed his concerns, although Sievert confirmed Daugherty's suspicions that Vista's hardware requirements were going to be more demanding. "Yes esp on memory," Sievert said in response to the analyst's question. "This is true for both [Vista] home premium and home basic."

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.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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

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?