A federal judge in Seattle this afternoon granted class-action status to a lawsuit alleging that Microsoft deceived consumers prior to Windows Vista's launch by touting PCs as "Windows Vista Capable" even if they could only run Windows Vista Home Basic. The suit alleges that Vista Home Basic isn't a real version of the operating system, because it lacks the operating system's signature features.
However, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman also sets certain limits on the types of consumers who can be included in the class, and the legal theories the plaintiffs can use. Among other things, she writes that the plaintiffs' lawyers must, within 30 days, add as a named plaintiff a consumer who bought a PC as part of the Windows Vista "Express Upgrade" program, if they want to pursue that portion of the case. The Express Upgrade program gave consumers who bought PCs during the 2006 holiday season, prior to Windows Vista's release, the right to free or low-priced upgrades to Windows Vista after it came out.
Here's the judge's opinion: PDF, 25 pages.
Microsoft, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Capable, Lawsuit, Legal Matter