HP’s fury at Vista Capable downgrade

HP sent Microsoft a stinging rebuke for its decision to drop the requirements for the controversial Vista Capable scheme, new court documents have revealed.

HP's fury at Vista Capable downgrade

Microsoft is currently 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.

Court documents released last week claimed that Microsoft lowered the Vista Capable requirements at the behest of Intel, which complained that plans to exclude its 915 chipset from the scheme would cost the company billions of dollars.

That decision sparked a furious response from HP senior vice president, Richard Walker, according to transcripts of emails that have been put before the court.

“If I were to be completely cynical about the course of events leading up to this, I’d suggest that my friends in Santa Clara [Intel] slept well last night knowing they don’t have to worry that part of their line up, non compliant as it would have been based on WDDM [Windows Display Drive Model] requirement for 1/4, will be exposed to public scrutiny,” the email read.

Walker complained that HP had invested heavily in creating PCs that met Microsoft’s original Vista Capable requirements, only to find they had been lowered shortly before launch. “Now we have a situation where PC manufacturers (and processor/chipset suppliers) can claim Vista Capable in a ‘good’ mode just because it will run. What kind of consumer assurance is that? Hardly one that puts any credence behind your desire to create the ‘best possible customer experience for the Windows Vista update'”.

Allchin fury

HP’s email prompted then Microsoft co-President, Jim Allchin, to send a furious email of his own to company CEO Steve Ballmer.

Allchin’s email suggests the decision to lower the requirements was made in his absence by Ballmer, following “a call between you and Paul [Otellini, Intel CEO].”

“I am beyond being upset here,” Allchin wrote to Ballmer. “What a mess. Now we have an upset partner, Microsoft destroyed credibility [sic], as well as my own credibility shot.”

Ballmer, in turn, blamed another Microsoft executive, Will Poole, in a rather erratically typed reply to Allchin. “I had nothing to do with this Will handled everything I received a message that paul was going to call Will said he would handle it Paul called I had not even had a chance to report his issues when Will told me he had solved them (it did not sound like he had) I am not even in the detail of the issues.

You better get will under control thanks.”

Microsoft has repeatedly denied misleading customers with the Vista Capable scheme.

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