updated 02:20 pm EST, Thu February 28, 2008
MS Lowered Vista Specs
Microsoft knowingly lowered the requirements for Windows Vista to help Intel sell more low-cost chipsets, disclosed company e-mail has revealed. Further searches as part of an investigation into misleading Vista Capable stickers has revealed a message by executive John Kalkman which complains of bending the minimum specifications to allow certain budget mainboards to earn the criteria despite missing out on key features. Despite a lack of support for Vista's Aero Glass appearance and other features considered selling points for the OS, the Intel 915 mainboard chipset was allowed to qualify for the Vista Capable logo solely to satisfy the close hardware partner, even though it effectively allowed companies to ship sub-par hardware and delay efforts for more capable equipment.
"In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with the 915 [chipset's] graphics embedded," Kalkman said in February 2007, just after Vista's release.
Microsoft has since responded to the questions raised by this and other e-mail and reiterated its claim that the dialog was evidence of an "active discussion" about how to implement the Vista Capable program rather than evidence of deliberate intent. The Home Basic edition of Vista, which turns off Aero Glass and other performance-intensive elements, is labeled an example of these improvements. No explanation was given for why the discussion was still in progress months after the start of the Vista Capable program and weeks after the late-January debut of the software.
Intel has not commented on the apparent pressure on Microsoft to improve Windows sales.
The e-mail is believed to be crucial to a lawsuit filed against Microsoft, which charges the company with misleading customers into buying sub-par computers ahead of Vista's launch under the false assumption that they could upgrade to Vista while running the software properly.