Microsoft boss to take the stand in "Vista capable" class-action suit
Marsha Pechman, the judge presiding over the court case between dissatisfied US Vista users and Microsoft, has directed Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer to testify before the court within 30 days. According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the company had already requested that the Federal District Court in Seattle deny the plaintiffs’ motion for the testimony, but Pechman believed that an e-mail exchange between Ballmer and one of the company managers presented by plaintiffs provides sufficient evidence that the CEO may possess background information important to the court proceeding about how the current operating system was marketed.
The case is concerned with the "Windows Vista capable" logo affixed to computers in 2006 indicating, even before the operating system was released, that the devices were compatible with Vista. US Citizen Dianne Kelly trusted the sticker and purchased a PC. Once the new operating system was released, it became evident that while Windows Vista Home Basic did run on her computer, the premium version with its characteristic updates, such as the Aero Glass user interface, did not. In April of last year, Kelly filed a class action suit because she felt cheated out of the "real Vista".
In the course of the case, the suspicion arose that Microsoft had loosened the logo requirements to help Intel. Intel boss Paul Otellini had e-mail exchanges with employees responsible for the Vista logo program and later even approached Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with his reservations. Shortly afterward, Microsoft executives managed to push through a policy that the guidelines for using the logo should be loosened.