Microsoft lowered “Vista Capable” bar for Intel

Microsoft lowered the requirements of its controversial “Vista Capable” scheme to help Intel, according to newly released court documents.

Microsoft lowered

Microsoft is being sued in the US by customers who complained that PCs sporting Vista Capable stickers were only able to run the Home Basic version of the operating system.

Documents released in court claim Microsoft was initially planning to disqualify PCs based on Intel’s 915 chipset from the scheme, because they weren’t powerful enough to run Vista’s Aero Glass graphics.

Intel then asked Microsoft to delay the launch of the sticker scheme from April to the originally planned date of June, so that it could have more time to get high-end chipsets on to the market.

“While I do not want to discuss volume and $$ on email, it is material to our business, and we do not understand Microsoft’s motivation to change the previously agreed upon date,” Intel executive Renee James wrote in an email to Microsoft.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini even appealed directly to Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, claiming the scheme could cost Intel billions of dollars in lost revenue.

The requirements were eventually relaxed to allow 915 chipsets into the scheme. Otellini subsequently sent Ballmer a note of thanks for “listening and making these changes.”

Microsoft has repeatedly denied that it misled customers with the Vista capable scheme. “The emails highlighted by the plaintiffs reflect the normal back-and-forth discussion about an internal decision Microsoft made in January 2006, long before it began communicating about the Windows Vista Capable program to consumers in May 2006,” the company claims in a statment sent to PC Pro.

“Ultimately, we provided choices to consumers, giving different options for Windows Vista Capable PCs at various price-points to meet their needs.

“We conducted a comprehensive education campaign through retailers, PC manufacturers, the press, and our own website that gave consumers the information they needed to choose an affordable computer that would run the edition of Windows Vista that best fit their needs or lifestyle.”

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