A federal judge on Wednesday denied class action status to a consumer lawsuit over Microsoft's advertising of certain PCs as "capable" of running the company's Vista operating system.
Plaintiffs in the case argue that a 2006 Microsoft Corporation marketing campaign, in which "Windows Vista Capable" stickers were affixed to certain manufacturers' PCs, was misleading because many of the computers could run only a no-frills version of Vista (not the "Premium Vista" version that offers a number of desirable features). In Wednesday's ruling, a federal judge in Washington held that the plaintiffs could not show an overall change in consumer demand for the "Vista Capable" PCs based on Microsoft's allegedly deceptive marketing claims. Such "commonality" of harm is necessary in order for a lawsuit to go forward as a class action. The ruling made clear that the plaintiffs' claims can proceed on a case-by-case basis.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "the decertification of the lawsuit lifts a burden for Microsoft, which could have faced major damages in a class-action lawsuit, considering that consumers are estimated to have spent as much as $1.5 billion on PCs with the 'Vista Capable' label."