Ballmer washes hands of Vista Capable claims

Steve Ballmer claims he wasn’t involved in the “operational decisions” involving Microsoft’s controversial Vista Capable scheme.

Ballmer washes hands of Vista Capable claims

The software giant is currently facing a class action in the US over claims that the Vista Capable sticker scheme misled people into buying machines that were only able to run the stripped-down version of the OS, Vista Home Basic.

Plaintiffs in the case want Ballmer to give evidence, but in a document filed to the court, Ballmer denies all knowledge of the intricacies of the scheme.

“I was not involved in any of the operational decisions about the Windows Vista Capable program,” Ballmer claims in the document acquired by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

“I was not involved in establishing the requirements computers must satisfy to qualify for the Windows Vista Capable program.

“To the best of my recollection, I do not have any unique knowledge of, nor did I have any unique involvement in, any decisions regarding the Windows Vista Capable programme.”

Ballmer does, however, admit to later passing on concerns about the scheme to other Microsoft staff, including the now departed former co-president, Jim Allchin, and senior vice president Will Poole.

“On a few occasions in 2006, I had brief discussions about technical requirements and timing for the Windows Vista Capable program with executives from Microsoft’s business partners, including Intel Corporation.”

“However, those discussions took place at a very general level. Moreover, I simply relayed the concerns of Microsoft’s business partners to members of Microsoft’s management responsible for making the decisions regarding those technical requirements and timing, like Mr Allchin and Mr Poole …

“My knowledge of those decisions is entirely derivative and duplicative of Mr Allchin’s and Mr Poole’s knowledge.”

Leaked emails

Allchin has become something of a fall guy for the Vista Capable scheme. Leaked emails that were produced in earlier hearings revealed Allchin’s concerns about the scheme. “We really botched this… You guys have to do a better job with our customers,” his email read.

An interview conducted by PC Pro’s Jon Honeyball has also been used as evidence in the case, after Acer’s corporate vice president Jim Wong told our contributing editor that Vista Basic “wasn’t the real Vista”.

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