Friday, February 29, 2008

Breaking News: CVP Will Poole Certifies Another Laptop as Vista "Capable"

Granted, you may not get the "full" experience - though some might argue that the difference will be marginal. However, it will mean another chip sale for INTC. And isn't that all that matters?

Seriously, what an embarrassment. See the story that Todd Bishop broke here:

Additional coverage everywhere else including:

I suppose there's some way to spin this in a positive direction - and no doubt MSFT leadership will try. Here's their first lame attempt:

Throughout this process, Microsoft employees raised concerns and addressed issues with the intent to make this program better for our business partners and valuable for consumers. That's the sort of exchange we want to encourage. And in the end, we believe we succeeded in achieving both objectives.

Unfortunately, the record appears to show that while employees raised the concerns (to their credit), they were overruled by senior leadership. In other words, there was a willful decision to screw over customers and even OEM partners in order to placate INTC. Great judgement call if that's the case.

At least the Sinofsky summation shows there's hope for Windows - and the company more generally - under his leadership.

I'm not a lawyer, but these revelations would appear to be more than sufficient for the plaintiffs to win their pending class action lawsuit. So expect another $500M+ eventual judgement. Which makes the following all the more prescient:

In a February 2006 e-mail, Robin Leonard, a Microsoft employee, wrote that Wal-Mart officials were "extremely disappointed in the fact that the standards were lowered and feel like customer confusion will ensue."

She added later, "Please give this some consideration; it would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem."

"Do the right thing for the customer". Now there's a concept. So will anyone senior get fired for having seemingly done the wrong thing for customers, thereby damaging perceptions of Microsoft and its most important product in the process? Of course not.

Not coincidentally, MSFT is dropping Vista prices for retail skus; A move that is long overdue since the pricing there is ridiculous and sales have been abysmal.

All in all, a nice cap to a rotten week of news and stock action for MSFT.


  • Yes, you're right. I actually want to work for MS, but the string of bad news is disappointing. It's hard to believe that I can make it up to an interview, with a confidence level that low. Could it be that heaven is not a place on building 26?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:01 PM  

  • Sigh. We don't need competitors. We shoot ourselves just fine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:51 PM  

  • I don't get why this lawsuit was even admissible.

    "Vista capable" machines are capable of running vista.

    They don't allow for transparent windows, and the "Vista Capable" definitions says "well, you won't get transparent windows".

    So if you bought a machine that was labelled 'capable of running Vista' and it can run vista and it was labelled 'no fancy graphics' and you don't get fancy graphics - what's your injury?!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:36 PM  

  • "I don't get why this lawsuit was even admissible."

    Putting aside the lunacy of our overly litigious society, I think the better question is why wasn't MSFT clearer in setting expectations given the importance of the product and the potential for customer confusion that was correctly anticipated? For example, initially (and for several months thereafter) there was only one logo, and all it said was "Vista Capable". That's inherently very confusing, especially since what it actually meant in most cases was "Vista Home Basic Capable only". That said, I do disagree with the implicit notion that Vista is nothing without Aero.

    By Blogger MSFTextrememakeover, at 4:50 PM  

  • "I don't get why this lawsuit was even admissible."

    It's true that there is a ridiculous aspect to this case, as is true with much litigation against rich corporate targets.

    However, the point is that this is *yet another* example of MSFT senior leadership exercising extremely poor judgement. The Vista Capable program was put in place to spur sales during the holidays. It was designed to be confusing because the goal was to push product, not help (or please or delight or whatever) customers. It succeeded in doing what it was designed to do.

    You can count on MS leadership to always do the somewhat crooked, bone-headed, short-sighted move whenever given the opportunity. That's the culture. That's how they are wired. It is not going to change. The Windows/Office cash gusher makes them look a lot smarter than they actually are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:16 PM  

  • Once again zero accountability, zero leadership.

    And folks, let's not forget what got us here: an inability to ship.

    Ugh. Very sad. I resent them for what they are doing to my company. I love Microsoft and it is so painful to watch this (and be a part of this).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 AM  

  • You guys are kidding right? Yeah I get it that there is more to Vista than Aero, but Microsoft's marketing of Vista was about a new better user experience, and that new experience was coming through the UI, and that UI was shiny and sexy, and that new UI was Aero.

    That's why you have the lawsuit. You market a product to a mass audience by showing em how shiny and sexy it is, and then you take away most if not all that shine by taking out Aero capability....and wallah! Lawsuit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:08 AM  

  • Seen the film "Falling Down"?

    The scene where Michael Douglas stands in a burger place somewhere looking at the picture of a big juicy hamburger and then look at the squished one he holds in his hand and says "Can anybody tell me what's wrong with this picture"?

    Don't be naive. MSFT and Intel management knew what they where doing, they f**ked their customers over. And seemingly just because Will Poles golf buddy at intel can't handle his job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:52 AM  

  • Speaking of ignoring our customers... It's almost a year since we last heard of Ultimate extras.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:03 PM  

  • "I'm not a lawyer, but these revelations would appear to be more than sufficient for the plaintiffs to win their pending class action lawsuit."

    Well, it's a good thing you're not a lawyer, because you are completely wrong here.

    I'm not defending the substance of these e-mails, but they are largely irrelevant to the merits of the plaintiffs' claims.

    These e-mails really don't prove anything related to the plaintiffs' causes of action. (Read the complaint.) But they make good copy for those interested in Microsoft-bashing, which is why the plaintiffs wanted so desparately to get them published. This way, they get to try the case in public rather than in court.

    Well, their PR strategy is working so far (press is having a field day) and they are generating lots of FUD (which you are buying into). But I think their legal strategy to win this case is flawed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:04 PM  

  • Link title:
    "Why Did Microsoft Favor Intel Over Users?"

    The answer is obvious! They'd already favored the media industry over users. I'd be surprised if there aren't other accomodations that are yet to be revealed.

    Users eventually lost everything that was promised when Longhorn was announced.

    At least Microsoft has the good sense not to demand that we kiss and say "I love you" after this 'experience'.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:19 PM  

  • Ive had online problems with Vista. My browser just shutting down??

    By Anonymous Stanley, at 5:34 PM  

  • Please, just fire Will Poole already. Hell, take all his CVP stock options and apply them directly to the "Official Vista Ready Class Action Lawsuit Fund"(tm). A little public excoriation (is that even a word? now it is) is necessary here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM  

  • Will has already been downsized twice since this happened. He used to have Steven's and BillV's jobs combined. Then he was downsized to Market-Expansion Group (anti-piracy, hardware innovation and emerging markets) and finally to Unlimited Potential (just emerging markets). I doubt he'll be punished further.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:08 PM  

  • "I doubt he'll be punished further."

    Why not? Fire the guy already.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:38 AM  

  • Why I will bet on Google over Microsoft

    In past few years, for Microsoft, Google has graduated from a minor irritation to a redoubtable competition that is threatening their very relevance. Now Microsoft is baying for Google's blood. They want to take the fight to Google's footstep and they believe that Yahoo! will be their Achilles.
    Continue reading at

    By Blogger Vikas Agarwal, at 11:18 PM  

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