Microsoft Partners: Vista Capable marketing campaign was deceptive

Microsoft may soon be defending itself from a class action lawsuit over its 'Vista Capable' marketing campaign, and several of the vendor's channel partners aren't the least bit surprised.Microsoft launched the Vista Capable campaign in order to keep PC sales strong after its decision to delay the release of Vista to consumers until after the […]

Microsoft may soon be defending itself from a class action lawsuit over its 'Vista Capable' marketing campaign, and several of the vendor's channel partners aren't the least bit surprised.

Microsoft launched the Vista Capable campaign in order to keep PC sales strong after its decision to delay the release of Vista to consumers until after the 2006 holiday season. Consumers who bought a PC with the 'Vista Capable' sticker would get an XP machine and then later be eligible for a free or discounted upgrade to Vista.

What the campaign didn't specify was which of the four versions of Vista -- Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate -- a PC was capable of running. And according to solution providers, therein lies the rub.

"I was a little bit leery of the campaign from the outset because it seemed a little vague. Vista Basic is a completely different animal than Vista Ultimate," said Tyler Dikman, CEO of Cooltronics, a Tampa, Fla. solution provider who resold a number of systems from Dell (NSDQ:Dell) and Lenovo that had the Vista capable stickers.

One high level executive, who works for a computer maker that participated in the Vista Capable marketing campaign, said the initial campaign was focused on high-end systems that were designed to handle Vista.

The executive, who didn't want to be identified, said Microsoft lowered the bar on the Vista capable designation because "they realized a lot of the boards in the marketplace couldn't work with the (Vista capable) spec."

The executive said the Vista capable spec was lowered so the Vista capable marketing stickers could be placed on systems using Intel (NSDQ:INTC)'s 945 chip set. "The initial specs were pretty clear," the executive said. "What happened is that as the campaign got closer to launch Microsoft lowered the bar."

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Microsoft, Windows Vista, Vista Capable, Sticker, Logo, Campaign, Marketing, Microsoft Partners