Word Games . . .

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

From the Seattle Times (emphases ours).

Microsoft announced a new program to label PCs “Windows Vista ready” if they can handle the new operating system going on sale in January. But the stickers don’t tell the whole story, because some of the labeled PCs may only be able to run a bare-bones version of Vista.

Vista will be available in six versions but the “Windows Vista Capable PC” stickers may appear on systems that can run only Windows Vista Home Basic, which doesn’t include the graphics system that’s a highlight of the new software. The stickers can be applied on systems with current-generation processors, at least 512 megabytes of memory and a DirectX 9-class graphics processor.

A Microsoft spokeswoman characterized the specifications as a “baseline,” saying that “customers buying PCs today that exceed the Windows Vista Capable PC baseline are more likely to be able to take advantage of the premium experiences in Windows Vista when they upgrade.”

She said Microsoft will provide minimum-hardware requirements for full versions of Vista “in the coming months.”

Can you picture the scenes in households all around the world when the people who bought the “Windows Vista Capable PC” try to install a premium version of Vista, only to find out that “capable” doesn’t mean the same thing as “able.” Most Joes are not going to know that this thing is going to come in multiple flavors until he gets an error message saying, “You do not meet the hardware requirements for Vista Premium. Do you wish to install Vista Basic?”

And when they go back to the Best Buy and CompUSA, can you imagine the reaction when these people get told that they’ll have to spend hundreds more to make their “Windows Vista Capable PC” capable of running a version of Vista they didn’t even know existed? Can you imagine the life expectancy of the computer salesperson who tells them that, especially if the person telling them that is the salesperson sold them the machine?

I mean, is there not a soul in Redmond capable of imagining that some might not have the most tender, loving thoughts for those who gave them that Vista experience? Is there no one at One Microsoft Way who might conceive that others could perceive this to be a synonym of “bait-and-switch?” Or, for the baser sort, “rip-off?”

When Vista starts to be sold, there will be “Vista Basic” and “Vista Premium” logos, which will at least give consumers a hint that there’s more than one version of Vista, and one needs heftier equipment than the other.

But from now until then, these stickers will give no indication that this is going to be the case.

This is low, Microsoft. Do this, then hide behind the resellers’ skirts (then again, maybe some of the hardware makers are hiding behind MS’s skirts, too.)

What did I do when I found out about this? I filed a complaint with the FTC to beat the rush. If this happens, this is going to be a disaster.

Do you know what is really aggravating about all this? If you tell your Sixpacks about this, some of them are going to buy these systems, then call you stupid and incapable of reading plain English, possibly ending the conversation with “Well, I asked the salesman, and he said you were wrong.”

Of course, you’ll end up with the last laugh, but you know it will be sour.

See how these companies play word games?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. I guess for ONCE the guys at BB won't be ripping you off when they tell you that you REALLY do need the $1000 box instead of the $299 one if you want to be able to run vista.
    I guess for ONCE the guys at BB won't be ripping you off when they tell you that you REALLY do need the $1000 box instead of the $299 one if you want to be able to run vista.

    It will still be a rip off.
    This whole situation stinks. I plan on buying Vista (me= Microsoft drone) but all the problems it is causing (before it is even released no less!) are starting to annoy me.
    I guess for ONCE the guys at BB won't be ripping you off when they tell you that you REALLY do need the $1000 box instead of the $299 one if you want to be able to run vista.

    We aren't all soul-less demons you know.
    Every thing I've read about Vista, makes me hug my 2000 CD even more!
    If I HAVE to upgrade in the future, I'm going to be seriously looking into a tux wearing Penguin! (but then, how do we know he isn't wearing a tux?)(For all you PHC Fans.)
    We aren't all soul-less demons you know.

    And then I remember the story of a BB employee who sold this old lady 5 service plans to go with her computer. They didn't care, they were getting paid extra for it.
    If I HAVE to upgrade in the future, I'm going to be seriously looking into a tux wearing Penguin!
    Yeah if Linux would run every piece of Windows software, and was as user friendly it might be an option. There are ok-ish distros but they are infinitely more easy to screw up than Windows 2K or XP, this needs to change before Joe average can use them.
    If you have no OS on your computer what exactly do you have to lose by trying to get a FREE one to work exactly? your time? Is that much of your time worth the MSRP of a retail copy of Vista? If so, the argument holds water, if not, I would check out what the freebies had to offer..
    enough of that.. Vista seems to be a bloated hog, Oh well, I havnt installed any OS (including free disto's) that I didnt do at least some cleanup of things that were useless to me. Heck I know Regedit (I have a shortcut on my desktop HA!) like it was Word, I say bring the bloat ON! :p
    I don't think the fixing they need to do after that source code got leaked a couple years ago is making things easier.

    I have never understood this concept? Why does the leaking of sourcecode ever entail recoding? Valve claimed that about Halflife 2, when in fact it seemed that it needed recoding because it wasn't properly finished and needed heavily optimised. Surely if the most secure operating systems avaliable (like Open BSD) can be secure with completely open source code, the only reason microsoft might have had to make code changes after the leaking of the Win 2000 source was because the Win 2000 code wasn't very good anyway, and the leak just made people more aware of it.
    I think one factor that many have missed in this thread is the perceived need on the part of Joes that "Vista is new, so is better".
    Regardless of the merits of any given operating system, the public will demand Vista on their new machines. I'll be taking a "middle path" in this regard, telling customers that they should wait if at all possible to allow some time for the OS to "work out the initial bugs". This will accomplish two things:
  2. It will allow time for the bugs to get worked out
  3. It will give some time for the dust from the platform changes to settle

    In the meantime, if a customer must have a machine today, I've upped my minimum configuration (base machine) to include 1Gig of RAM, a 160GB HDD and at least a 6600GT/X1600 equivalent video card. This should ensure a good Vista experience for all those who need to buy today.