Judge denies judgment in Microsoft Vista Capable suit

A jury trial is still scheduled to begin on April 13

A U.S. judge denied a request for judgment in the Microsoft Vista Capable suit, instead sending the case along to trial with a ruling Wednesday.

Dianne Kelley, the plaintiff who continues to argue for class status for the case, had asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to rule that Microsoft deceived customers by saying that Vista would work on certain computers that weren't capable of running some features.

But Judge Marsha Pechman said that the court needed additional proof, despite the discovery of internal Microsoft communications from executives expressing concern about a decision to call certain computers "Vista Capable" even though they wouldn't be able to support some important Vista capabilities.

"Today, the Court adds that -- however relevant -- these communications do not establish that Microsoft's actions, as a matter of law, had a capacity to deceive a substantial portion of the public. ... Plaintiffs' summary of Microsoft's employees' thoughts on the WDDM requirement is relevant, but not conclusive as to what an average consumer might believe," the ruling reads.

The Windows Device Driver Module was designed by Microsoft and was initially a requirement in computer chips that could run Windows Vista. But after Intel requested that non-WDDM chips be allowed in computers running Vista, Microsoft changed its requirement, letting non-WDDM chips run Vista.

Pechman also wrote that she didn't have concrete evidence of the performance gap between Vista running on the lower-end computers and on the more powerful machines.

TechFlash posted a copy of the ruling.

The court recently removed class status from the suit, but the plaintiffs continue to argue for the reinstatement of class status. A jury trial is set to begin on April 13.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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