Ok, my title is a tad misleading since the machines in question COULD, in fact, run Vista Basic. However, the whole ‘Vista Capable’ program IS the heart of several lawsuits including a class action suit. To give a little background, in case you do not know, here’s the whole reason for this very misleading program.
Way back, prior to Vista’s release, in 2006, Microsoft was saying that new hardware had to support the new WDDM driver model. This requirement meant that new machines with certain Intel chipsets, like the 915, would not support Vista since Intel had not planned that kind of support for the low end chipsets. Intel went to Microsoft and complained. Intel’s CEO (Paul Otellini-the guy who stood on stage with Steve Jobs in a ‘bunny’ suit-apparently called Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to cry foul over the requirement. Microsoft caved, but not without a great deal of internal strife over the decision. Most inside the company thought it was a bad idea and would confuse consumers. Indeed, it did.
Fast forward to January of 2007 when Vista was released to the general public. Almost immediately, consumers and the press began to complain about poor performance, lack of features that were seen in commercials (Aero, Media Center) and incompatibilities. Most of the problems were due to poor driver support, lack of drivers – even in some of the new machines being shipped with Vista. The situation was pretty bad.
Several companies, including Sony (figures) were happy with Microsoft’s decision as it meant they could be lazy and put Vista on machines that really were not up to Vista. These were basically XP machines that had Vista (mostly Home Basic) installed. Other companies, like HP, were upset because they actually took time and made the effort to put out quality NEW hardware with Vista installed and had proper driver support. Microsoft sacrificed tons of good PR and goodwill by caving to Intel.
The real insult here-and the biggest slap in the face I have ever seen-came when Intel announced that it would not upgrade it’s hardware (used internally) to Vista.
Regular readers know I’m a pretty big fan of Vista and of Microsoft in general, however, even I can admit that Microsoft was wrong and should never have done this. They should have, instead, reiterated driver requirements and got hardware manufacturers to support then current hardware in Vista by supplying drivers prior to the operating systems release. They should have also spent more time making performance enhancements (taking twenty minutes to copy a gigabyte file to or from an SD card is unforgivable) to the OS. Alas, instead, they got a mess. Way to go.