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The Trouble With Windows Vista Capable

One commenter challenged yesterday’s story about the “Vista Capable” sticker lawsuit, contending, “that you had to have been living under a rock if by that point you hadn’t seen or read that capable meant Basic unless you upgraded.” Sorry, but most people do live under rocks.

One reason companies spend so much money marketing products is that people don’t remember, particularly in a U.S. market of too many choices. I’m confident that if I randomly asked a dozen people on the street if they know what Vista Capable means—not people working with technology everyday—most wouldn’t have a clue. Some of them wouldn’t even know what Windows Vista is.

Microsoft isn’t necessarily to blame for people’s ignorance of its products. Apple has the top-selling music player by a huge margin, and the company still advertises the heck out of iPod. Marketing is tough business, which is all the more reason simplicity should be No. 1 priority when developing a program like Windows Vista Capable.

All the more reason: Microsoft had already created a certain level of trust in its stickers from the Designed for Windows logo programs. The Windows logo assured that the stickered product would work with the operating system. Consumer trust in that program creates a certain expectation about PCs carrying a Windows logo.

Vista Capable builds on the older logo, which is even more cause for confusion. Marketing could have made all the difference.

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Microsoft, Windows Vista

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