updated 10:30 pm EST, Wed November 28, 2007
Vista Capable confuses MS
Microsoft's own marketing is reportedly confused over its cryptic "Vista capable" logo, which not only caused confusion among PC buyers, but is also the focus of a lawsuit: a recent discussion with the plaintiff's lawyers indicates that even the company's own staff don't have a clear idea about what the program entails. CNET reports that Mark Croft, Microsoft's director of marketing, inadvertently sympathized with the plaintiffs when he misquoted the intended effect that the company's "Windows Vista Capable" program was to have on consumers.
The blunder came about after he said that "'capable' has an interpretation for many that, in the context of this program, a PC would be able to run any version of the Windows operating system." After a 10-minute break, Croft partially retracted his statement, calling it "an error", clarifying that Microsoft intended "capable" to mean that a computer is "able to run a version of Vista."
Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed for a motion to make the suit into a class action, arguing that Croft displayed the same ignorance to Microsoft's own marketing program that the company insists that no customer should be experiencing.
Microsoft countered that it had sufficiently educated the public through press statements, retail and OEM shops, and advertising materials that indicate the specific intentions of the "Vista capable" program. "Instead, plaintiffs focus on the tiny three-word logo that played only a small role in that process."
Windows Vista comes in a variety of editions so that users can select a version that most suits their needs. Before the launch, computer manufacturers were able to tag select machines that met the requirements of Microsoft's Windows Vista Capable program, signifying that the product is ready to accept the new operating system. Microsoft accompanied the sticker with an advertising campaign clarifying the upgrade program, stressing that a computer with this logo will not necessarily run all versions of Vista, since the Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions tend to be more taxing on a system's resources, particularly due to Aero - the new DirectX 9-aware front end for Vista.
Unfortunately, most of the heavily-advertised features of Vista are only present in the premium versions, thus excluding customers who bought inexpensive or non-upgradeable computers from accessing these touted capabilities.