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Microsoft

Ballmer Ordered To Testify In 'Vista Capable' Case 235

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the take-the-stand-monkey-man dept.
alphadogg writes "A federal judge in Seattle has ordered Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to testify in a class action lawsuit against Microsoft that alleges the company misled consumers in a marketing campaign for its Windows Vista operating system in which computers sold with an older Microsoft OS were labeled 'Vista Capable' when in fact they could only run a basic version of Vista. Ballmer has unique personal knowledge of facts surrounding the case, therefore he must face questioning, Judge Marsha Pechman of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle ruled, according to court documents released late Friday."
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Ballmer Ordered To Testify In 'Vista Capable' Case

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  • by rallymatte (707679) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:01PM (#25873387)
    I wonder if they allow chair-throwing in court these days.
    If they do, I think Microsoft stands a pretty good chance.
    • by Andr T. (1006215) <(andretaff) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:04PM (#25873451)
      What about monkey-dancing? The judge will be amazed!
    • by FinchWorld (845331) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:07PM (#25873499) Homepage

      Judge: Uh, I hate to interrupt your fun, boys, but I got a few complaints this case is crooked.
      Ballmer: [laughs] And how.
      Judge: Gee, I'd hate to close you down. Maybe we can reach a little, uh, understanding here. [Holds out the palm of his hand and motions his fingers so as to suggest that this is a bribe]
      Ballmer: I understand.
      Bill: Um, hey, Ballmer, I-- I think he wants--
      Ballmer: Not right now, Bill. Monkey Boy is talking to a Judge.
      Judge: Uh, let me put it this way. I'm looking for my friend Bill. [nods as he says Bill] Have you seen any Bills around here? [nods]
      Ballmer: Yes. [points at Bill] He's Bill.
      Judge: [groans] I-- Listen carefully, and watch me wink as I speak, okay?
      Ballmer: Okay.
      Judge: The guy I'm really looking for--wink--is Mr. Bribe--wink, wink. [holds out hand again]
      Ballmer: It's a lightweight operating system.
      Jusge: All right, that's it, I'm shutting this shit down.

      • by AioKits (1235070) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:30PM (#25873799)
        It's a good thing Jusge broke in at the end to put an end to all this corruption!
      • by ByOhTek (1181381)
        I know that is intended as humor, but even so, would a bribe really be necessary in this situation? Yes, the OS has reduced "form"unality, but is there really a loss of function? You lose the superfluous Aero interface, but that doesn't make the OS unusable (IMO, quite the opposite). Is feature that allows you to do a task missing? This lawsuit seems silly. It's like taking a guy who's gone on a killing spree, with rock-solid evidence supporting this, and then hitting the guy/gal with concealed weapons
        • Re:Ballmer in court (Score:4, Informative)

          by Walpurgiss (723989) on Monday November 24, 2008 @03:05PM (#25875827)
          It isn't only about losing Aero. A guy I work with got a new HP last year that came with vista basic, and it is completely unusably slow. It says vista capable on the case, but 2 tabs open in firefox (for them, its ebay and gmail) and try to do anything else = unresponsive.

          Same thing after I figured it was spyware/malware related and reverted from the system restore partition HP provides (since you don't get disc media anymore)

          Vista Capable at the low end of the spectrum is at best a complete lie.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:08PM (#25873527)

      all rise .... and duck!

    • No, there's only bench-throwing in a courtroom setting, which is why Ballmer should be wheeled in inside a monkey cage so he can't get loose and cause trouble. He'll also need a fresh change of newspaper so he won't have anything to fling at hapless jurors.
    • by Coraon (1080675) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:22PM (#25873719)
      and here I was expecting when the lawyers have him in the box and ask him who's at fault him to say 'developers' like 50+ times...
    • by Kagura (843695) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:23PM (#25873741)

      I wonder if they allow chair-throwing in court these days.
      If they do, I think Microsoft stands a pretty good chance.

      Unfortunately for him, Ballmer is being kept in a special plastic prison. All chairs have been replaced by ultra-light-weight plastic versions that will cause little harm if thrown. And as an added contingency measure, the chairs have been bolted down in the special courtroom. Unless a blue shape-shifter smuggles in a chair, it looks like he is stuck here permanently.

    • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:34PM (#25873839) Journal

      Prosecution: Following all the evidence that we have seen, in which many different customers and partners of Microsoft mention discussing the problems with you, do you maintain that you had no knowledge of these problems?

      Ballmer: Erg... ugh... errg!

      Judge: MISTER Ballmer! You have been warned before. I will find you in contempt of this court if you continue your attempts to dislodge the seat in the witness stand.

      Ballmer: [Sits down, sweaty. Sighs.]

      Judge: Answer the question, Mr Ballmer.
      MISTER BALLMER! Why are you painting your face blue?!

      Ballmer: I'm a PC and... I have just crashed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Enough with the chair throwing. It's getting old!

    • by ubrgeek (679399) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:42PM (#25873949)
      Judge: Mr. Ballmer, will you please take the stand?

      Ballmer: Sure. Where do you want it to land?
    • by Goffee71 (628501)
      I await the movie version with interest, perhaps with a pro-wrestler playing the part of Stevie.
    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:22PM (#25874507)

      I wonder if they allow chair-throwing in court these days.

      If they do, I think Microsoft stands a pretty good chance.

      The judge rules from the bench. She'd fsck'ing p3wn him.

    • Bouncing up and down on the judge's desk, facing the courtroom screaming "DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!"

  • by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash.eighty+sla ... om minus math_go> on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:01PM (#25873399)

    ...all courtroom furniture will be bolted down.

  • Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:03PM (#25873431) Homepage
    Although I agree with the justice of going after them for misleading statements, I reckon all-in-all these people are better off, having got a PC with XP rather than being forced to wrestle the leviathan.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by daviee (137644) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:08PM (#25873531)

      At the end, it still comes with and runs a version of Vista.

      There are true marketing scams, but IMO, this is not one of them.

      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheLinuxSRC (683475) * <slashdotNO@SPAMpagewash.com> on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:47PM (#25874025) Homepage
        At the end, it still comes with and runs a version of Vista.

        Actually these machines *didn't* come with a version of Vista. They came with a sticker claiming they are capable of running Vista with no specific of which version of Vista they would be capable of running. As a result, this sticker meant different things to MS marketroids than it did to consumers who found the stickers misleading; hence the lawsuit.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

        by idontgno (624372) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:54PM (#25874111) Journal
        For certain small values of "Vista". And a sufficiently tolerant definition of "runs".
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

        by TTURabble (1164837) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:59PM (#25874193)
        Wrong, this is classic bait and switch.

        You bait them with pretty pictures and a new user interface, then you switch it out with something that looks and feels just like XP. Even their new marketing campaign (mojave) pushes the UI with the "participants" talking about how great everything looks. I have yet to see a vista commercial that talks about the technical merits of the operating system, because your average user doesn't understand or care about indexed search or file systems etc.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:56PM (#25874963) Homepage

        Inevitable car analogies:

        This car is ready to be entered in the Indy 500!

        Well, actually it has a top speed of 35 MPH and can't even vaguely qualify, but you CAN enter it!

        Off road ready!

        Your driveway isn't technically a road and it can go there as long as it's not too steep. Just floor it, you'll eventually creep up to the garage.

        Comfortably seats six (infants)

        Anti-lock brakes (as long as you're not going more than 5 MPH).

        Faster than any computer on the planet (in 1945)

        Sound fair?

      • by timeOday (582209)

        At the end, it still comes with and runs a version of Vista.

        Too bad they didn't put that on the PC sticker: "Special-Gimped-Version-of-Vista-Compatible!"

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:11PM (#25873571)
      The sad irony is that MS lowered the standards to get Vista onto machines that could not support Aero. The original assumption that no one would buy these machines if consumers knew that they could not upgrade from XP to Vista. Considering the negative experiences that many of them consumers had on these machines, many of them don't want Vista nowadays.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:13PM (#25874369)

        The sad irony is that MS lowered the standards to get Vista onto machines that could not support Aero. The original assumption that no one would buy these machines if consumers knew that they could not upgrade from XP to Vista. Considering the negative experiences that many of them consumers had on these machines, many of them don't want Vista nowadays.

        This is certainly true.

        I've got a Vista machine at home... 64-bit, dual core, 4 gigs of RAM... Runs fine. I might very well be better off with some other choice of OS, but I don't have any genuine issues running Vista. It is at least functional.

        I've seen clients bring in Vista machines that are barely functional. They complain about how slow the machine is, how hard it is to do any work. These machines have the bare minimum hardware necessary to boot the OS. They've got 1 GB or less of RAM, a crappy on-board GPU, and some kind of underpowered budget CPU. And these people are miserable with Vista.

        If Microsoft had required manufacturers to ship computers with decent hardware you wouldn't be seeing nearly as many people complaining about Vista.

        • Yup, if someone brings me one of those to fix, I install Linux with ExPee in a VM and seamless RDP from Linux for specific Windows applications. That works like a charm, but it takes a lot of dedication to set it up and get it all to work.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nabsltd (1313397)

          If Microsoft had required manufacturers to ship computers with decent hardware you wouldn't be seeing nearly as many people complaining about Vista.

          On the other hand, if Microsoft hadn't bloated Vista to the point of unusability on the average hardware being sold at the time, there would be even less people complaining.

          A machine with a 2-2.8GHz CPU and 512MB-1GB of RAM was pretty much the middle of the road when Vista was launched, so it should run just fine on that configuration. With Aero, you'll need a decent graphics card, but you shouldn't need 4GB of RAM or a 3.4GHz processor just to run the basic system.

          • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shagg (99693) on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:05PM (#25875099)

            If Microsoft had required manufacturers to ship computers with decent hardware you wouldn't be seeing nearly as many people complaining about Vista.

            On the other hand, if Microsoft hadn't bloated Vista to the point of unusability on the average hardware being sold at the time, there would be even less people complaining.

            Replace "Vista" with whatever the latest version of Windows is, and that's pretty much true for all of them at the time they're released. The only shocking part is that some people seem to be surprised by this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228)

          And whose fault is that? I'll tell you who, MSFT! Since Vista has come out they have been trying to shove it down the OEMs throats knowing that a good portion of the machines they are selling couldn't run the damned thing, but instead of doing the smart thing and keeping Vista for the "premium" machines they shoved it out there for PCs that don't have a fourth of what it takes to even give a shitty Vista "experience". And then they killed XP. Smart move, MSFT!

          Let us be honest here: Joe and Jane average ain'

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Paradise Pete (33184)
        When you look upon your customers as suckers and sheep to be sheared, these types of decisions start to appear rational.
    • Unless they're trying to wrestle said leviathan anyway, but using under-powered machines to do it.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:20PM (#25873691)

      Although I agree with the justice of going after them for misleading statements, I reckon all-in-all these people are better off, having got a PC with XP rather than being forced to wrestle the leviathan.

      ...except the point is that the point of the lawsuit is that people intending to run Vista bought the computers, and found to their chagrin that they couldn't run it. Which means they were wrestling the leviathan, just with even poorer weapons.

      I do feel for them. I have a laptop I bought in April, 4GB RAM, and Vista (preinstalled) has always just been obscenely slow when doing anything like logging in, switching users, etc. Absolutely ridiculous.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cowmonaut (989226)

        My laptop with 2GB RAM has no issues with Vista Ultimate x64. It does have an AMD64 Turion dual core though.

        It came with Vista Home Basic pre-installed which DID run dog slow during everything. I'm pretty sure Microsoft, for whatever reason, purposely crippled the lower versions. Lord knows I've seen similar things happen when people misconfigure their GPO settings or make bad Registry changes manually.

        • by PitaBred (632671)

          Might halfway be the blame of the manufacturer for their crappy default image then? I've never seen a preinstalled Vista I've liked, and because of that, I simply refuse to use it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mordred99 (895063)
          I will bite. Read lifehacker and learn to speed up your vista system. It will tell you what to turn off and what not. While MS is to blame for some of it, they are not to blame for all of it. Remember - people on this site, were bitching for years (a decade ago) that MS could configure their OS for optimal settings, and then manufacturers could not change them. They sued and won the right to configure their own base images. Now they give you crapware laden pieces of shit which are horribly misconfigur
      • by Rary (566291)

        I have a laptop I bought in April, 4GB RAM, and Vista (preinstalled) has always just been obscenely slow when doing anything like logging in, switching users, etc. Absolutely ridiculous.

        I suspect this is not purely a problem with Vista, as I have not experienced any obscenely slow activity on my laptop with 2GB RAM running Vista Home Basic, nor on an older desktop (XP 2800) with 2GB RAM running Vista Ultimate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mseidl (828824)

        I have a laptop I bought in April, 4GB RAM, and Vista (preinstalled) has always just been obscenely slow when doing anything like logging in, switching users, etc. Absolutely ridiculous.

        Have you tried to reconfigure, optimize and recompile your kernel?

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:08PM (#25874313)

      Although I agree with the justice of going after them for misleading statements, I reckon all-in-all these people are better off, having got a PC with XP rather than being forced to wrestle the leviathan.

      I think you misunderstand.

      This isn't about whether a computer shipped with Vista or XP, this is about how a computer was labeled.

      Microsoft has a qualification process that decides what sticker you're allowed to put on your PC. If your machine meets the requirements you are allowed to brand your computer as "Vista Capable".

      Microsoft intentionally lowered the requirements for their sticker program in order to include computers that probably should not have qualified.

      This means that there are people out there who bought computers intending to run Vista on them, and thought that the machine was capable of running Vista, and were then disappointed to find out that they could only run a very limited version of Vista.

      You can certainly argue that XP is a better OS than Vista, and I don't think you'll see a whole lot of people disagreeing with you around here. But the fact of the matter is that people expected something that they weren't getting.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      This is something that they've been doing for years. Even notice that in Win XP there are an awful lot of greyed out checkboxes? Or how the help files often include information about the Pro version when you're using the Home version?

      It's a pain in the ass, and it really ought not to be tolerated. I'm fine with them stripping features from home or adding them to the more expensive version, but the less expensive versions ought to properly function. None of that sabotaging security features bullshit either.

      T

    1. Don't throw any chairs. Judges hate it when you throw chairs.
    2. Don't say "I'm gonna fucking KILL" anything or anybody. Judges hate that, too.

    I know this because of a child support hearing [kuro5hin.org] I had to attend in 2004 (I was trying to get child support from my ex-wife). Please don't follow Mr. Johnson's example:

    There was a huge black man standing before the judge. Apparently this fellow was unemployed and hadn't been paying his child support.

    "Look, Judge, I gots no problem with child support."

    "Yes, you do," the ju

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The prospect of Mr. Ballmer sitting in a cell chewing on a pillow would indeed be karmic since Microsoft's customers have been assuming the position ever since Vista was released. Cue the banjo music.

  • In the five comments, three are about flying chairs.

    I think it's think to rename the company to Microchair, Chairsoft, or something.

    Or maybe help fund SpaceX, with the condition to make their next spacecraft chair-shaped.

    • by Huntr (951770)

      It might be easier to rename /. to Obsesseddot or Notreallyallthatfunnydot.

      just kidding, slashdotters!

  • So? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:09PM (#25873549) Homepage Journal
    Although it seems misleading.. Vista Basic is still vista. Why is this still going on?

    Because people feel like Aero was a major selling feature? And that without Aero, Vista is not distinguisable from XP? I'd say that the difference is major, and is very much public knowledge, much to Microsoft's chagrin.

    So what's the argument? That MS's ad campaign led you to believe anything over the "vista-sucks" hype? I don't think so.
    • I mean distinguishable, not sure how that other.. uh .. word happened.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by yumyum (168683)
      The whole issue surrounds the agreements made between MS and HP. HP claims that the change in machine requirements was done in bad faith, through the influence of Intel. It has nothing to do with labels or branding.
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:21PM (#25873707) Journal

      Initially, the "Vista Capable" logo meant that you'd be ready to use Aero, and able to run Home Premium or better using all its features. Then, due to pressures from OEMs and Intel among others, the requirements for "Vista Capable" changed to "can have some version of Vista installed", which pretty much meant that many of those machines can barely have Vista Home Basic installed, let alone give you a usable system, and they certainly cannot use Aero.

      The gist of the argument is that Microsoft changed the requirements and definition of what "Vista Capable" meant along the way, misleading customers about what it really meant.

      For Microsoft, from my point of view (I've followed the computing industry for 25 years or so now), it's business as usual and nothing that surprises me. I'm used to taking any recommendations they make and double it, and used to seeing them lie, cheat, deceive, coerce, defraud and generally do anything they can get away with in order to increase their profits and enhance their control of the computing industry.

      Caveat emptor I say, but a lot of people aren't interested in doing research and make informed decisions, they'd rather believe the companies selling them this stuff, or the sales drones at the local big surface shop.

      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:31PM (#25873805)
        Yes, but this is the first time I recall that OEMs sold machines that were seriously underpowered. The difference between XP Home and XP Pro requirements were small. In previous versions, if you upgraded an old machine, you had to double the MS requirements but most new machines met the requirements. In this case, you had a whole lot of new machines that could only run Vista Basic. Add this to whole mess of other problems Vista had at launch and it adds to the negative image of MS.
        • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Penguinoflight (517245) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:53PM (#25874093) Homepage Journal
          Machines in question were in fact nowhere near new. Intel's 915 chipset for example (which was one of the chips later allowed under "vista capable") was released all the way back in June of 2004. Even Nvidia's geforce 5-series supports the WDDM (A chip which was released way back in 2002). Microsoft simply caved due to intel pressure. Why would you run a brand new operating system on hardware that isn't competitive with 4-year-old hardware?
        • Yes, but this is the first time I recall that OEMs sold machines that were seriously underpowered. The difference between XP Home and XP Pro requirements were small. In previous versions, if you upgraded an old machine, you had to double the MS requirements but most new machines met the requirements. In this case, you had a whole lot of new machines that could only run Vista Basic. Add this to whole mess of other problems Vista had at launch and it adds to the negative image of MS.

          I disagree.

          I've seen entirely too many XP machines for sale with only 256 MB RAM. Sure, technically that's more than enough... But in reality it is horribly underpowered.

          Load up the OS, throw on some sort of antivirus, fire up a web browser and email client... Now try to get some work done. Your machine will crawl.

          We've always told our clients that 512 MB is really the minimum RAM to be productive, and I've been recommending 1 GB or more for a while now. Especially if folks want to do anything even rem

          • I've seen entirely too many XP machines for sale with only 256 MB RAM. Sure, technically that's more than enough... But in reality it is horribly underpowered.

            True, but that can easily fixed by adding more memory. Technically, people can upgrade a desktop with non-Aero video cards but in most cases, they can't add a new video card to a laptop.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CSHARP123 (904951)
        I am really amazed at the inept of the legal department of Microsoft. People in this country sue for petty things and it is a known way to circumvent the deceptive marketing tactics with disclaimers in tiny fonts that no one could read. Why didn't Microsoft legal department came up a disclaimer that said Aero interface requires Supercomputer to run. I guess this case would have folded long time back.
        • by idontgno (624372)

          I bet Microsoft's legal eagles would have been up to the task, but Microsoft's marketing would have insisted that the disclaimer be thoroughly buried* (to not detract from the "Vista on YOUR computer!" message).

          *By "thoroughly buried", written in the most obscured legalese, than translated to Attic Greek, transliterated phonetically into Mandarin Chinese, ROT-13'd, printed in navy blue ink on royal blue paper, glued shut, and locked "in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with

      • Another point to ponder is what Microsoft was leading people to see as "Vista" at that time. Pretty much all the advertisements and hype of Vista featured Aero (obviously it would sell better that way). Thus, the image that MS created was a Vista with Aero, which is not what people ended up getting or being able to run in the end.

      • Caveat emptor I say, but a lot of people aren't interested in doing research and make informed decisions, they'd rather believe the companies selling them this stuff, or the sales drones at the local big surface shop.

        While I agree, I think you've missed an important point: by law, they're not supposed to have to.

      • My sister has an Acer laptop which is Vista Capable - it came with Vista Basic installed. It's the lowest end Acer laptop you can purchase (not sure of model.)

        I used the thing the day she got it, before she had a chance to bloat it with stuff. The thing is gawd awefully slow. I'm remembering back in the 386 days when I got Windows 95 to run on an old PC. You click on START and within 30-120 seconds, the start menu appears. You click on the submenu, and within about 30 seconds it appears. You click

      • Except, that the change in requirements came before consumers could actually obtain Vista.

        This has nothing to do with "lying, cheating, scamming" this has to do with marketing.

        Fact is, you need your products to sell and it needs to be worth buying. The unfortunate part is at the time all of this was going down, you couldn't get a reasonable "Vista" PC. It was OEMs and Intel wanting to push inventory. Their assumption was that once Vista came out, they wouldn't be able to push these PCs.

        This is correct.

        This
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:24PM (#25873743)

      You must be new here. :P

      Here's the point of the plaintiffs: Vista is advertised to have all these nice features. Aero was one of them. Vista Basic does not run Aero because the machines cannot support it. It was not evident to most consumers that Vista Basic was the most stripped down version that could not do this because it was in the fine print. It didn't matter the cost of the machine per se. It was the video chipset that mattered. Mike Nash, VP of MS, bought a $2,100 computer that could not run Aero.

      • Vista Basic does not run Aero because the machines cannot support it.

        No. Vista basic does not run Aero because it is not included in Vista Basic. My 4gb, quad core x64 based system is capable of using Aero, but if i install vista basic on it I still wont have aero. But Vista Basic IS a version of Vista. If that machine can boot and run Vista basic than it is a vista capable system, this lawsuit should be thrown out.

    • Does Vista have some major tangible benefit evident to the average consumer besides Aero?

      • Aero is a "major tangible benefit"?
        • At least, it is major and tangible. Does Vista have something that is major and tangible besides Aero?
          • by thewils (463314)

            Does Vista have something that is major and tangible besides Aero

            There's the UAC, and the roads, public order and don't forget the aqueduct.

        • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sparks23 (412116) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:41PM (#25874797)

          Aero was /advertised as such/, which is part of the point here. The issue isn't the actual functionality of stuff in Vista Business or Ultimate; the issue is the misleading expectations Microsoft allowed.

          Microsoft went, "Look! Here is our new shiny OS, Vista! Vista can play movies! Vista has shiny UI! Vista can sing and dance and make you coffee! And look, because this will be coming out soon, we've even labeled computers for you so you'll know which ones are ready for the Vista Experience!"

          Consumers went, "Yay! Thank you, Microsoft! This makes my life easier! I, a non-technical consumer who do not wish to have to worry about hardware specifications but do wish to enjoy the benefits of this OS you are telling me about, have gone and bought one of your conveniently labeled computers!"

          Then Vista comes out and the consumers try to run Vista Ultimate or Vista Business or whatever, and discover their computer can't. And Microsoft goes, "Oh... yeah, /that/ computer? That one is kind of a piece of junk. That has a crappy Intel chip which can only run this lower-end version. This version doesn't have shiny UI, only plays movies that are 3 years old, and the singing and dancing part only includes musical numbers from Bollywood films. And while this version of Vista can still make you coffee, the coffee can only be decaf with artificial creamer. Didn't you read all the fine print specifications on the Vista box?"

          And the consumers go, "WTF BBQ I paid $2600 for this laptop! You said this would run Vista! There's a label right on the computer! I bought this because I didn't want to have to worry about figuring out what hardware my computer had and whether that was enough for various Vista stuff! I bought this computer /specifically/ since the computer says it can run Vista!"

          Microsoft goes, "Well, that computer /does/ run Vista! Just not the same version of Vista we were telling you about earlier, that's all. Not our fault you got confused about that."

          And the consumers go, "LAWSUIT!"

      • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:00PM (#25874211) Homepage Journal
        That's my point- it doesn't offer benefits at all. It does offer a difference, however.

        I'm arguing that the claim aero made Vista is false. Vista is different than XP in tons of other ways as well. Not better, just different. Mostly worse.

        But to claim without aero, it's not vista, is just plainly false. If, without aero, the software ran better, faster, less hangups, and more compatible, I'd say that then, without Aero, it's not actually vista. Now you have an argument.

        But the things that make Vista special are true in all versions:
        -It's slow
        It's incompatible with EVERYTHING
        -It's a resource hog.

        I fail to see how Aero makes any difference.

        The claim is that MS changed their internal standards from AERO capable to just plain basic capable. As far as I'm concerned, Being vista capable means just that. Vista also supports tons of features that I can't take advantage of without particular hardware. I can't use the floppy disk capabilities without a floppy drive. I can't take advantage. I can't take advantage of the extras and bitlocker without upgrading to the Ultimate Edition.

        So the fact that Aero was people's favorite feature does not in fact prove that it was in fact what made vista "vista." And therefore anything labeled Vista capable doesn't neccessarily need to run a particular feature to still be vista. People just liked the eye candy and didn't research before purchasing.

        Only on an MS bashing site are people claiming something illegal may have happened. Unethical? Probably. Not done with customers in mind, of course. Enough to make you switch to linux or max, absolutely. I certainly don't trust them after this.

        But to say their marketing tricked everyone, as opposed to the fact- people wanted to believe the cheapest gave them all the features, and decided not to inform themselves before buying? That's just stupid.
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "But to claim without aero, it's not vista, is just plainly false. If, without aero, the software ran better, faster, less hangups, and more compatible, I'd say that then, without Aero, it's not actually vista. Now you have an argument."

          But do remember, to Joe AvgPublic, the new visual stuff/look is about the only thing they notice on a computer, and therefore to them, THAT is in effect what is new about vista and diff. it from XP.

          They won't know, and often won't care about the underlying stuff.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

          But to claim without aero, it's not vista, is just plainly false.

          If Microsoft advertisements implied that anything called "Vista" would come with the Aero interface, then that's essentially a defining attribute of Vista. From that perspective, if something lacks the Aero interface, it's not what MS ads referred to as Vista.

        • by PitaBred (632671)

          Microsoft advertised that Vista = Aero. Except to techies, there were no ads that didn't expound on how graphically amazing Vista was. And when people bought a "Vista Capable" PC, that pretty much implies that it will run all versions of Vista. You don't buy a "highway capable" car to find it tops out at 55mph, do you?

        • Re:So? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by pizzach (1011925) <pizzach.gmail@com> on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:19PM (#25875261) Homepage

          It's a bit of a game. If Aero wasn't such a resource hog, the nicer graphics would have made the now mostly hated interface changes more palatable. This is the first time anyone had to deal with graphics being an extra pay-for feature. Imagine having to do that for an FPS.

          Mac OS X has changed what the expectations for interface graphics are. I'm sure a lot of People thought Aero would be something similar to Quartz and such.

    • Although it seems misleading.. Vista Basic is still vista. Why is this still going on?

      Because people feel like Aero was a major selling feature? And that without Aero, Vista is not distinguisable from XP? I'd say that the difference is major, and is very much public knowledge, much to Microsoft's chagrin.

      So what's the argument? That MS's ad campaign led you to believe anything over the "vista-sucks" hype? I don't think so.

      Initially, "Vista Capable" meant that you'd be able to run pretty much any flavor of Vista you might want to. It meant that you could run Aero and all the other shiny stuff.

      Microsoft then redefined "Vista Capable" to mean simply capable of running the most basic version of Vista - not all the shiny stuff.

      Further, the minimum requirements to get a "Vista capable" sticker are truly minimal. I'm not sure I'd even want to run XP on some of the systems that qualify. I've been recommending 1GB RAM or more for

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday November 24, 2008 @12:12PM (#25873577) Homepage

    Part of the issue here is the meaning of the word capable. Balmer has already said that Vista isn't really a capable operating system (or at least wasn't when launched) so surely the argument therefore is that a machine that is incapable of running Vista is therefore getting exactly the same experience (or better) than someone who is actually running Vista.

    Thus actually Vista Capable is a comparison between XP and Vista and thus you are better off having XP as that is just as capable as Vista.

    Come on are we seriously thinking that Balmer can't talk his way around the word Capable?

  • by mfh (56)

    {{Throws chair at judge.}}

  • Premium Ready (Score:2, Informative)

    by kieblerh (1414625)
    Microsoft had Vista Capable and Premium Ready as their two qualifiers for Vista. Boxes read "'Vista Capable' when in fact they could only run a basic version of Vista"... oh so if you wanted to run premium you needed the Premium Ready tag? That seems to make sense to me. I dont think microsoft is wrong this time.
    • microsoft ever wrong. or in wrongdoing.
    • Here is the Vista Home Basic Requirements:
      • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
      • 512 MB of system memory
      • 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
      • Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory
      • DVD-ROM drive
      • Audio Output
      • Internet access (fees may apply)

      Here is Vista Premium Requirements:

      • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
      • 1 GB of system memory
      • 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
      • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with:
        • WDDM Driver
        • 128 MB of graphics
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

        Hell, they expect vista to run in 512mb?

        'Vista Capable' was essentially meaningless marketing. My last laptop was 'Vista capable' - stickers all over it saying so... just before the RTM of Vista Asus discontinued that model and released one with a TPM chip in it, then said their previous model was unsupported on Vista. Without drivers it was never going to be 'Vista capable' in any real sense, even though it met the technical requirements (and, being a laptop, the ethernet and wireless chipsets were compl

        • btw. WDDM is a driver model.. Any hardware could be made to use it if someone had enough time to write it. The important bit is the graphics memory and pixel shader support.

          Not exactly true. Intel's 915 chipset cannot run Aero no matter which driver is used even though it has the memory and the pixel shader support. If Intel could write a driver, they would have done it by now. This blog [intel.com] tells exactly why. The Intel 915 does not have a Hardware Scheduler built in the chip. Newer Intel video chipsets (9

    • And you can't see how that is misleading?

    • Microsoft had Vista Capable and Premium Ready as their two qualifiers for Vista. Boxes read "'Vista Capable' when in fact they could only run a basic version of Vista"... oh so if you wanted to run premium you needed the Premium Ready tag? That seems to make sense to me. I dont think microsoft is wrong this time.

      That'd be fine... Except that Microsoft changed the definition of "Vista Capable" midway through. And they certainly didn't advertise the differences between "Capable" and "Premium". And almost all the advertising showed the shiny new Aero stuff... So that's what folks expected to see when they fired up their brand new Vista box...

      Imagine going to the jeweler and buying a box of diamonds. After watching all those commercials on TV you're expecting the box to be full of sparkly crystals. Instead the bo

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:00PM (#25874213)

    Vista-capable.

    Is that a euphemism like "handicapable" instead of handicapped?

    Talk about your PC language...

  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:42PM (#25874821) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft should simply offer a free upgrade to Windows XP for everyone who bought a computer with Vista installed that couldn't handle it.

  • Is so he can finally get someone to give him a straight answer about where that any key is.
  • by mlawrence (1094477) <martin&martinlawrence,ca> on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:52PM (#25875659) Homepage
    The computers were labeled as "Vista Capable" when in fact they could only run a basic version? SO WHAT??? I'm pushing 40, and although I'm "Sex Capable", most women don't expect the more advanced features such as more than once an hour.

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