Woes worsen for Windows Vista
By Andy Goldberg Apr 5, 2007, 9:47 GMT
Founder of the Microsoft empire Bill Gates speaks during the launch of the company\'s latest operating system Windows. EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT
San Francisco - When Microsoft launched the consumer versions of its Windows Vista operating system in January, it tried to drum up interest with one of the most expensive marketing campaigns in history.
'The Wow Begins Now' was the campaign's tagline, aimed at convincing people that it was worth upgrading to the expensive and long-delayed new operating system.
But two months after the launch, Windows Vista is proving such a disappointment to many users that a new version of the catchphrase is making the circuits in internet forums and blogs: 'The woes begin now.'
The latest blow to the Vista's prestige came in a new lawsuit made public this week by a woman who claimed that Microsoft's marketing campaign deliberately duped customers into buying computers that weren't even capable of running Vista's most prominent features.
Lawyers for personal computer buyer Diane Kelley are seeking class action for the lawsuit which centres on efforts by Microsoft and computer makers to avoid a lull in PC sales by assuring consumers that the machines they were buying last year could run the delayed operating system when it was released in January.
Microsoft agreed to allow the computer makers to apply 'Windows Vista Capable' stickers to computers and offer discounted upgrades once the new Vista became available. However, many of those computers only met the hardware requirements for Windows Vista Home Basic - a bare-bones version which lacks the 'Aero' on-screen appearance, Media Center PC interface, Flip 3D window-switching and other features heavily advertised as central to the Vista experience.
'Microsoft engaged in bait and switch - assuring consumers they were purchasing 'Vista Capable' machines when, in fact, they could obtain only a stripped-down operating system lacking the functionality and features that Microsoft advertised as 'Vista', ' the complaint said.
'All the 'wow' stuff that Microsoft is selling and marketing is present in (Windows Vista Home) Premium, but it's not present in Basic,' said Michael Rosenberger, one of the lawyers representing Kelley in the case.
News of the complaint hit the internet just as Microsoft suffered another embarrassing Vista hitch. The software giant was forced Tuesday to issue an emergency security patch for the operating system to fix a vulnerability that allowed hackers to take over any machine that visited websites embedded with malicious code.
The patch addressed the so-called Windows animated cursor vulnerability and was released a week ahead of the regularly monthly patch date. It was only the third since January 2005 to be posted outside Microsoft's normal monthly schedule.
The two developments turbocharged an already impressive groundswell of criticism against the latest offering from the software giant. Users complain about a lack of compatible drivers for their peripheral devices, faulty upgrades and impaired performance compared to their previous systems.
It's clear that many of the derogatory comments come from avid fans of the rival Apple Macs. But there's also a groundswell of opinion by disappointed Vista users.
'Isn't it great when a major release is tested with the general public?' quipped one reader on the tech website CNet.com. 'I'll personally hold off on any flavour of Vista. Or maybe I'll finally visit the darkside and get a Mac.'
Another writer appeared remarkably cool considering his predicament.
'Microsoft has some explaining to do,' said someone named as russray, who chronicled the woes of his new Vista-ready machine. 'Where am I in this situation? The system has frozen twice while typing this comment! Microsoft, please explain.'© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur