The “Vista Capable” lawsuit has been dragging on for some time now, but it appears a verdict may be fast approaching, and its bad news for Microsoft. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman released figures from the class-action suit which shows that the company stands to lose as much as $8.5 billion dollars. With such a large dollar figure swirling through the investment community, Microsoft instantly went on the defensive by issuing a statement claiming that the estimate is “over inflated”. They also assert that if damages are granted, they are unlikely to be anywhere near this amount.
The 8.5 billion dollar figure was calculated by a University Of Washington economist, and expert witness in the trial. To reach this number he determined the number of “Vista Upgradable” PCs that were sold in the US between April 2006 and January 2007. This essentially covers the period between the start of the marketing campaign and the release of the retail version of the OS. It was established that around 13.75 million laptops and 5.65 million desktop PC’s shipped with the “Vista Capable” designation, but did not live up to the “Premium Ready” requirements. The root of the plaintiff’s argument is that they were cheated as a result of not being able to use the Aero glass interface. As of July 2008 Microsoft had sold 180 million licenses for Vista, but only around 42 million of those were for the basic edition.
As PC enthusiasts we are suckers for OS eye candy, but does this case actually have merit? Your personal feelings on Vista notwithstanding, does the lack of Aero really cripple the rest of the OS enough to justify this kind of settlement?
When Windows Vista launched back in January of 2007, incompatibility was a term that was synonymous with the new OS. Things have clearly improved since then, but almost everyone has at least one or two applications that simply refuse to run, and probably will never see an updated version. The problem for Microsoft grows even larger when you look at businesses that often have very custom mission critical applications that tend to be rather fussy about their operating environment. For these businesses, Vista was simply not an option. The use of virtualization as a solution to incompatibility is nothing new. Unfortunately in most cases it is an overkill approach that requires multiple OS licenses, and a beefy enough rig to support both the guest and host environments.
Those in search of a better solution are overjoyed by the launch of Microsoft's Enterprise Desktop Virtualization Beta, also known as MED-V. The release was announced on the official MDOP blog where Senior Product Manager Ran Oelgiesser seemed enthusiastic about the future of embedded virtualization. “For those of us on the MED-V product team, our primary goal was to deliver an enterprise virtualization solution for the compatibility challenges that IT teams have with some of their line-of-business applications, during the upgrade to new operating systems (like Windows Vista). With MED-V 1.0, you can easily create, deliver and centrally manage virtual Windows XP or 2000 environments (based on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007), and help your users to run legacy applications on their Windows Vista desktops”. MED-V is slated to leave beta in Q2 2009.
With the Windows 7 launch on the horizon, is this too little too late?
Microsoft recently announced to its system-building partners that they would extend the pull date on Windows XP past the originally announced January 31, 2009.
These system builders are going to be allowed orders of XP all the way up until January 31, and they can ship them until May 30. “This is a good solution to support the customers that are standardized still on XP,” stated Michael Schwab, the co-president of D&H Distributing. “In this case, people contemplated buying in larger quantities [of XP licenses] and holding on to them. But that would have caused a bubble [from] people buying five months of supply in January.”
This appears to be another sign of the market’s resistance to getting Windows Vista. Despite all the clever ads, it still seems that people prefer Windows XP to the pretty new OS.
What about you? Are you still set in your XP ways or have you moved on to Vista? Let us know in the comments.
In recent times, there have been quite a few reports about some enterprises having professed their liking for Windows XP. The consumers and enterprises that have vowed to abstain from Windows Vista, or plan on running old software owned by them, are scampering for used XP-toting PCs.
There is no dearth of Windows XP PCs as millions of users are supplanting their old PCs with newer ones that run Vista; a Gartner study pegged the number of discarded XP PCs in 2007 at 197 million.
Kaplan advises consumers to be slightly more cautious while purchasing secondhand PCs online as they are very likely to come loaded with a pirated version of XP.
The talk of Vista and XP is known to have elicited some passionate responses from Maximum PC readers in the comments section before and so you are expected to be ready with your astute views on this occasion as well.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be forced to take the stand to defend his involvement in the “Vista Capable” marketing initiative which sparked a class action lawsuit back in February. The court has been selectively taking testimony from key Microsoft executives based on the contents of the 158 page bundle of internal emails that Judge Martha Peachman ordered unsealed. Specifically the court seems interested to learn of Ballmer’s involvement in giving Intel a pass on its underpowered integrated graphics hardware which turned out to be barely capable of booting Vista Basic. In one specific chain senior vice president Will Poole emailed Ballmer following a conversation with Intel CEO Paul Otellini stating:
“Steve, following up on the call you took from Paul today, we have changed our program so that Intel's current integrated parts qualify for 'Vista Capable' branding ... This change completely resolves their problem. “
In response Ballmer wrote:
“I thought they had other issues Certainly paul described other (non graphics) issues is this really resolved check back with her thanks”.
In the eyes of Judge Peachman this is sufficient acknowledgement of the issues to justify the need for a deposition. Ballmer has 30 days to schedule his three hour appearance, but he has yet to set a date. A Microsoft spokesman has responded to the press by stating, "We will of course comply with the court's order. Mr. Ballmer's knowledge about the Windows Vista Capable program comes from the executives he empowered to run the program and make decisions, and two of those executives already testified in this case." Many other spectacularly controversial quotes have come from the internal emails, including a VP of product management Microsoft employee who claims to have been “burnt” by the program. But Officially Microsoft defends the initiative and claims many of the emails and memos released have been taken out of context.
What are your opinions on the trial? Hit the jump and let us know.
Evidently, software pirates have been passing up on Microsoft’s latest flagship OS, Vista, in order to get their booty plundering hands on a counterfeit version of XP, according to Bonnie MacNaughton, a senior attorney at Microsoft.
“Historically, counterfeiters tend to focus on the 'n-1' version of software," explained MacNaughton. "Because of the more robust antipiracy and security features in Vista, most sophisticated piracy rings still continue to focus on XP. But that's changing over time.” For the very same reasons, counterfeiters are only copying Office 2003, rather than Office 2007.
Given the current future of Windows XP, and the high possibility of its piracy it’s entirely likely that any copy of XP that you get after January 2009 (with the exception of downgrades available through HP and Dell) is pirated. Because of this, Microsoft is planning on rolling out a brand new ad campaign in early 2009 to remind people of XP’s demise, and this possibility. “We're planning [a campaign] in January or February to make sure our customers know what our rules and policies are about Windows XP," stated MacNaughton, "to make sure they understand what may be illegitimate and what may be legitimate. We want to make sure that the XP they might be getting is genuine.”
October's Patch Tuesday's bigger than normal, with 11 security bulletins (four critical, six important, and one moderate) affecting the following desktop operating systems and applications:
Internet Explorer 5.01, 6, and 7 on Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, and Windows Vista get patched to stop a remote code execution threat
Windows XP SP2 and SP3 and Windows XP Professional x64 and XP Professional x64 SP2 will be patched to stop elevation of privilege attacks
Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Vista SP1 will also be as updated needed to prevent remote code execution
Microsoft Excel 2000 SP3, Excel 2002, Excel 2003 SP2/SP3, and Excel 2007/2007 SP1 will be updated against a critical vulnerability, as will Excel Viewer 2003/2003 SP3, Excel Viewer, and MS Office Compatibility Pack and Compatibility Pack's SP1.
What else is coming down the chute starting Tuesday?
Windows Vista Media Center gets a pair of updates (one for the TV Pack, and one for everyone), as well as the usual updates to the Malicious Software Removal Tool, Windows Mail Junk Email Filter and Customer/Windows Vista Experience Improvement Program.
However, the biggest news is the premiere of the Microsoft Active Protections Program and Exploitability Index we told you about in August. Hopefully, these programs will aid the never-ending battle against the bad guys in cyberspace.
I’m trying to upgrade my boot disc drive, which uses XP as the OS. I’d failed twice and hen turned to Norton Ghost 12 to copy my C drive to my new disc. During the clone, everything seemed to be working until about 70 percent of the way through the procedure. At that point, a message appeared stating that my computer was trying to communicate with Microsoft. After about two minutes another message appeared stating that the attempt to communicate failed. Then the computer crashed.
I had some difficulty rebooting and then found that XP failed to recognize the new disc drive. It took me some time to figure out that this drive had to be reformatted. I’ve upgraded discs before but never encountered difficulties like this. I called Microsoft and they suggested I buy a copy of Vista and rebuild from scratch. I don’t want to do this. Am I missing something?
Begun, the Clone Wars have. Answers after the jump.
One of the biggest challenges Maximum PC readers often face is the never ending battle we endure when it comes to restoring the PC’s of family and friends. We often find ourselves bombarded with machines that may have once been configured by us, but have become infected or modified beyond recognition. The good news is that Microsoft finally has a solution and it comes in the form of a free add on for Windows XP and Vista which promises to restore sanity to your world.
Windows Steady State goes far beyond a simple group policy editor. It gives users the protection and peace of mind that until now could only be matched by a virtual machine. Simply put, Windows Steady State gives you nearly unlimited control over what can and cannot be done on a protected PC. With the ability to flush unwanted changes with each reboot every new session can be as fresh and snappy as the day you first installed the OS.
The obvious application for Steady State is anyone who maintains a large fleet of public computers, but I would argue that it works just as well for anyone who maintains a troublesome household computer with friends or family who just can’t resist opening email attachments. Steady State gives administrators full control over how users access the internet, how they import and export data, and even what programs they can use. Interested in learning how to master this amazing new utility?
Read on to learn how to configure Steady State for your application.
Like everyone, Microsoft hates to back a loser. There comes a time though when you have to lick your wounds and suck it up. With the demise of Microsoft backed HD DVD, they are now working on incorporating the new storage option into Windows.
Microsoft is developting a “Windows Feature Pack for Storage” for both Windows XP and Vista. On the Microsoft Connect website they highlight three new technologies each in their own installer for the prerelease beta: Active Storage Platform: This pre-release package enables the Windows platform to restrict access to portable devices (such as a USB Flash Device) via a certificate or password authentication based on the IEEE 1667 standard specification. Image Mastering: API update for Blu-Ray media: This feature enables the Windows platform to do master style optical burning on Blu-Ray media.
Smart Card Drive:: This release provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID smart cards.
Maybe official Microsoft and Windows support for Blu-ray will help speed adoption rates for the new storage media.