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HP's Fury At Vista Capable Downgrade 499

Posted by kdawson
from the made-for-xp dept.
More documents are coming out in court proceedings over the Vista Capable debacle. Internetnews.com has good coverage of HP's fury over Microsoft lowering the requirements for a Vista Capable sticker, at Intel's request. "Intel officials may have been pleased that Microsoft lowered standards for obtaining the company's Windows Vista Capable logo program sticker, but the same can't be said about HP's execs. 'I can't be more clear than to say you not only let us down by reneging on your commitment to stand behind the [device driver model] requirement, you have demonstrated a complete lack of commitment to HP as a strategic partner and cost us a lot of money in the process,' said one e-mail from Richard Walker, the senior vice president of HP's consumer business unit, to [Microsoft executives]." PCPro.co.uk follows the trail of accusatory emails inside Microsoft from there: "HP's email prompted then Microsoft co-President, Jim Allchin, to send a furious email of his own to company CEO Steve Ballmer. Allchin's email suggests the decision to lower the requirements was made in his absence by Ballmer, following 'a call between you and Paul [Otellini, Intel CEO].' 'I am beyond being upset here,' Allchin wrote to Ballmer. 'What a mess. Now we have an upset partner, Microsoft destroyed credibility [sic], as well as my own credibility shot.' Ballmer, in turn, blamed another Microsoft executive, Will Poole, in a rather erratically typed reply to Allchin."
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HP's Fury At Vista Capable Downgrade

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  • SUSE laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <.enderandrew. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:41PM (#25805521) Homepage Journal

    Many users don't feel comfortable doing an OS install themselves. HP in the past used to sell laptops with SUSE preinstalled. If you're pissed at Microsoft, a letter won't do anything. You're still preinstalling Vista on every computer.

    Offer a new line of openSUSE laptops with all the hardware configured and working out of the box (wireless, webcam, etc) and that will send a message to Microsoft.

    • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:45PM (#25805597)
      You forgot one thing - make it VISIBLE (*cough*Ubuntu*cough*)! If there isn't sufficient marketing push from %OEM%, no matter what you offer pre-installed it'll never gain sufficient foothold against Windows, not even enough to send a message to the MS execs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thtrgremlin (1158085)
        Ok, I am confused. What message do we want to get to Microsoft? My only message is "Go away", but I have a strong feeling they won't care any more than I do about the "amazing new features" of Windows 7. Microsoft has their own way of doing things. I think the message needs to be to consumers that freedom is worth the little bit of work to learn something different. Just my opinion.

        I am more interested in changing attitudes of consumers than how a company easily manipulates them.
    • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:48PM (#25805677)

      If you're pissed at Microsoft, a letter won't do anything. You're still preinstalling Vista on every computer.

      I totally agree. HP sells more Windows boxes than any other single vendor, and MS still fucked them they like they do all of their business partners. HP was neutered by Carly, they need to grow a pair back start getting self-sufficient again. They've clearly been fooled (at least) once now, will they let themselves be fooled twice?

      • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:09PM (#25806109)

        When the vendors are starting to play the "Vista yay" games while everyone else is rolling back Vista to XP at first opportunity.

        Example: NVidia fucked over the consumer by making their newest stereo3D drivers not just Vista-only, but also by removing LCD shutter support (meaning you're limited to color-distorting anaglyph red/blue glasses, or really crapass zalman monitors).

        check it out [nvidia.com].

        Next time I upgrade, unless they fix this, NVidia will not even be considered.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:21PM (#25806329)

        They've clearly been fooled (at least) once now, will they let themselves be fooled twice?

        There's an old saying in Redmond - I know it's in Palo Alto, probably in Redmond - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - I can't get fooled again.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Trillan (597339)

          I like this version:

          Fool me once shame on you
          Fool me twice shame on me
          Only the folks in Palo Alto will fall for number three.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rary (566291)

        That could just come right back to bite them on the ass, because it might just piss off Microsoft, and the thing is, Microsoft holds all the cards.

        HP needs Microsoft because, Slashdot horde notwithstanding, HP's customers are generally not in the market for a Linux computer, they're in the market for a Windows computer. Offering a Linux option is all well and good, but most customers simply aren't interested.

        Most Linux users are happy to install it themselves, and most people who want a pre-built computer c

        • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:45PM (#25806757)

          That could just come right back to bite them on the ass, because it might just piss off Microsoft, and the thing is, Microsoft holds all the cards.

          Only because companies like HP voluntarily hand their cards over to MS.

          Somebody has to take the lead, and while they may suffer for it in the short term, the long term looks a whole lot brighter without being beholden to one company that holds are the cards.

          Most Linux users are happy to install it themselves, and most people who want a pre-built computer complete with OS and software want one that works just like their old one,

          You are definitely describing yesterday's market. Nowadays many, many users are happy with a fully functional web browser. Not a majority, yet, but a significant minority. Look at just how well the linux-based netbooks have been selling as just one example.

          • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Insightful)

            by thepotoo (829391) <thepotoospam@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:26PM (#25807459)

            I hate to be the one to bring reality into this little discussion, but for HP to dump Windows and start selling Linux (or any other OS) instead is really, really stupid.

            I admit, I'd buy one. You'd probably buy one, too. But almost everyone else in the known universe wants Windows on their computer. Those that don't are buying Macs. This means that if HP wants to stay alive, they need to sell Vista.

            I especially like this piece:

            while they may suffer for it in the short term, the long term looks a whole lot brighter

            I'd like to see the company that could actually look that far ahead. Investors demand short term profits, and especially in the computer world, a couple of bad years might be enough to kill HP altogether.

            It's the unfair result of Microsoft's lock-in, but for the foreseeable future it seems to be pretty much an all or nothing Windows vs. Linux (OK, Dell has Windows vs. [hidden on the back page behind a sign reading "beware of the penguin"], but you get the idea).

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by the_womble (580291)

              I'd buy one. You'd probably buy one, too. But almost everyone else in the known universe wants Windows on their computer.

              I have installed Linux for other people. I think an earlier comment was right - Linux's biggest problem is lack of consumer awareness, which comes down to lack of marketing.

              Look at the reasons Mac owners say they prefer Macs. No malware is one of them. Linux is at least as good on that count. I actually think Linux GUI's are pretty good and better than Windows: but that is a matter of opinion. The examples here work for me (Mandriva 2008.1 KDE).

              Of course having said that marketing is the problem, I do no

            • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Insightful)

              by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @05:06PM (#25809105) Journal

              I think you're right, but the big name hardware makers all wanted that "symbiotic relationship" with Microsoft. EG. You supply the OS/software, and we'll supply the hardware. Together, we'll both PROFIT!

              It may not be all "love and roses" these days, with Vista not living up to its promises and all. But can you really imagine HP, Dell, or any of that lot suddenly coming out with their OWN operating system, this late in the game, and doing a decent job of it? You know the ONE company who had a shot at it, right? That was IBM, with OS/2, but they blew it too - out of greed, and the attraction of the "simplicity" of just letting Microsoft handle it for them instead.

              Say what you will about Apple, but they're the last standing hold-out from the era when all "personal computers" ran operating systems designed by and supported solely by the same companies that made the hardware. (Commodore, Atari, Tandy/TRS-80, etc. etc.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by node 3 (115640)

          That could just come right back to bite them on the ass, because it might just piss off Microsoft, and the thing is, Microsoft holds all the cards.

          MS will not cut off their #2 OS customer.

          HP's customers are generally not in the market for a Linux computer, they're in the market for a Windows computer.

          Let's say MS were to cut HP off such that HP would have to buy OEM copies of Vista/XP at full price. HP is one of the few companies that could actually make a non-geek oriented Linux PC. They could offer it as a whole new line, and make a huge push, and sell both Linux PCs and Windows PCs.

          In fact, you can be sure that HP is considering this very thing (among many other scenarios), and with distributions like Ubuntu becoming very user-friendly, and the Mac weaning peo

    • But being "upset" doesn't require any action beyond a temper tantrum, or a nasty email, or some other inconsequential pseudo action.

      Only when people TIRE of the WINTEL Cabal enough to SEARCH for a replacement will the stranglehold they have be broken. Not before. Too many people aren't "there" yet.

    • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:49PM (#25805703) Journal

      That won't just send a message to Microsoft, it would also send a message to the population in general. That message being: Microsoft is fucked, and we have your solution right here. No need to pay the MS tax, we have Linux pre-installed for just a few dollars more, you can sign up for our Linux class. It takes 4 hours for orientation, you get a free training CD, and 3 months support for $75.00

      If they do any two or more of the things I've just hinted at, MS might have a really bad year. Redmond is blowing it. They have no back-out strategy from the strong-arm tactics they have been using on manufacturers and retailers. If those deals go sour Redmond will not be an easy place to get a job in IT.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        With Ubuntu, and with netbooks, Linux is gaining some recognition with the public. A big name like HP offers a Linux laptop that you can buy on Amazon.com and in BestBuy, and then suddenly the public will see Linux in a very different light.

        HP is in the best position to push a Linux laptop since HP also offers very good Linux printer drivers. One product purchase can drive a complimentary sale.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      Offer a new line of openSUSE laptops with all the hardware configured and working out of the box (wireless, webcam, etc) and that will send a message to Microsoft.

      MS's overwhelming dominance (if not monopoly) in the desktop market means that they can force companies to dance to their tune by- for example- threatening to charge those who do such things more for Windows. Which would of course damage HP's competitiveness and/or profitability since- like it or not- most people will still want Windows on their computer.

      Whether such behaviour is legal or not is highly questionable. No doubt they'd weasel it such that HP simply weren't given a "discount" that all the othe

    • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lupis42 (1048492) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:56PM (#25805847)
      Seriously, why doesn't HP simply add Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and CentOS to the list of versions of Windows Vista, and list the price for each choice. Mark up every option by 10$ to offset the money they've lost. I'm sure the point will get across.
    • Re:SUSE laptops (Score:5, Informative)

      by D'Sphitz (699604) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:04PM (#25807105) Journal
      Here's the emails [techflash.com] the story mentions but fails to link
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:44PM (#25805571)

    Jim,

    I most certainly did not... *picks up chair*
    It was *throws chair* Will Poole who made the decision. Blame him.

    Sorry I have to run. My anger management class starts in 5 minutes.

    Steve

  • DRA-MA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Taibhsear (1286214) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:44PM (#25805577)

    This sounds more like high school than execs and CEOs... Sounds like you guys lost credibility a long time ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This sounds more like high school than execs and CEOs

      It's supposed to be a major plot point in High School Musical V(ista)
  • haha! with delight! I will be reaching for the popcorn whilst I read what promises to be an amusing article and linked mails.

    This will haunt them.

    I suspect they will get little sympathy from the /. crowd.
  • by TRex1993 (1135915) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:46PM (#25805617)
    Wait...Microsoft had credibility with system-requirements to destroy?!?
  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:46PM (#25805625)

    And thrown a chair at Allchin.

    At least he's emailing now.

  • What is it about Intel's 915 chipset which made it unsuitable for Windows Vista?

    What did Intel do to make it suitable?

    • by lupis42 (1048492) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:52PM (#25805763)
      It doesn't have the graphics power to run Aero. Intel instructed Microsoft to remove that as a requirement for the "Vista Capable" sticker. Microsoft agreed, despite previously telling ATI, Nvidia, and HP that they would not remove that requirement, even for Intel.
    • I don't run Vista but I'm going on a limb and guessing the graphics card struggles with the Aero interface. Otherwise I don't know why the chipset would be a big factor.

    • by phatvw (996438) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:06PM (#25806045)
      According to Intel, the i915 chipset does not have a native hardware scheduler [intel.com] and hence cannot fully support the WDDM design. I believe there were alpha versions of WDDM drivers for i915 but they only supported a subset of WDDM features and were scrapped early in the project.

      I reckon it is actually possible to have full WDDM on i915, but the performance would be absolutely horrible because the scheduling would have to be done in the driver - and we all know how zippy Intel drivers are :)
  • Microsoft destroyed credibility...

    Sorry, Jim, that train left the station back in the 90's, if not earlier.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:50PM (#25805709) Journal
    Hard to argue with HP for being pissed off about this one. The PC market is cutthroat, so making an investment in higher priced integrated and/or discrete graphics chipsets, only to discover at the last moment that your competition has just been given the green light to undersell you with relaxed requirements has got to hurt.

    MS was in a lousy position there, with no way to please everybody; but their handling of the situation was surprisingly inelegant. Lots of confusion and behind-one-another's-back talking to partners. I wonder if they messed up, or if they figure that HP et al. will just have to suck it up. One also wonders, at this point, if it wouldn't have been better for MS to just pay Intel to dump the 915s(either literally, or into low-end "emerging markets" products).
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:57PM (#25805873) Journal

      It sure is looking to me like Microsoft was in panic mode, different managers and departments were all over the place. The whole thing obviously turned into a feeding frenzy. What this shows you is just how vile and inept the unholy alliances between Microsoft, Intel and the big-name PC manufacturers are. But you know what, these guys long ago sold their souls to Microsoft, basically letting the tail wag the dog, so it's hard to feel sorry for HP. If HP had some serious balls it would simply have said "If you don't step on this shitty Intel chipset, we're going to start pushing in a big way Ubuntu and OpenOffice, and maybe we're even going to throw some R&D dollars at it." HP is a large enough PC maker to make a threat like that quake Redmond's boots.

      Instead, while they may have privately bitched, at the end of the day, John Q Consumer was still buying equipment with "Vista Ready" stickers on it, unaware that, whatever the reason, a fair chunk of those computers were anything but.

    • 20/20 hindsight (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)
      In retrospect, we can ponder what would have happened if MS had stuck with the WDDM requirement. In order to appease Intel and sell more copies of Vista, MS lowered the requirement. According to internal emails this WDDM requirement would mean Intel's exposure of hundreds of millions of dollars (200-400 according to various sources) that they could not sell. This estimation was based on the assumption that consumers would not buy computers with the Intel 915 chipset because they could not upgrade. Howev
  • by Etrias (1121031) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:54PM (#25805805)
    Is anyone else enjoying this or is it just me? I mean, this is like some kind of geek bitch-slap fight.
  • by genner (694963) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:54PM (#25805807)
    only stepping stones on the path to more money.
  • by 787style (816008) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:57PM (#25805865)
    What's even more ironic, is that if they hadn't come up with Vista-Capable, these notebooks would have been stuck on XP. Seeing how a large number of users specifically downgraded to XP on a Vista purchase, I can't see how selling these machines with XP only wouldn't have been (truly) a feature.
    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:11PM (#25807209)

      Unfortunately, most people didn't know Vista (especially vista basic) stunk at the original launch. I know quite a few people who looked at laptops and specifically went for vista ones because they were being advertised heavily and were the 'new shiny thing'. Putting XP on those underpowered laptops would have been the right thing for everyone involved, but vendors who did lost out to those sellers who had lower scruples.

  • Note to ballmer: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:58PM (#25805907) Homepage Journal

    The person at the top is ultimately responsible.

    Ballmer is the Ringo star of the software industry.

  • by frog_strat (852055) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:06PM (#25806043)
    Their own managers got screwed by this. From Information Week:

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/operatingsystems/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212100310 [informationweek.com]

    In another e-mail, Microsoft Windows product manager Mike Nash said even he was fooled by the campaign: "I personally got burned by the Intel 915 chipset issue on a laptop that I personally" bought "with my own $$$." Nash said he purchased the Sony laptop "because it had the Vista logo and was pretty disappointed."

    "I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine," Nash complained.

    Nothing new here. Another day. Another episode demonstrating that there are no ethics or leadership at the top of this company. Just a bunch of ignorant whores.
  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:09PM (#25807187) Journal

    I don't care about Microsoft passing the buck internally, and I doubt HP does either. What's important is that it's HP's buck that MS is passing.

    Intel and Microsoft both got more cash by selling out companies trying to sell computers that were actually Vista-ready in favor of more and cheaper units from other vendors whose boxes weren't.

  • Steves... (Score:4, Funny)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @04:14PM (#25808233) Journal

    I've noticed there are an awful lot of Steves in the industry. Ballmer, Wozniak and Jobs, plus a handful of others that I probably don't know about. I think Jobs and Wozniak (and others) should hold a vote to make Ballmer change his first name to something else. I'm sure he embarrasses them.

  • by jc364 (1292206) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @05:01PM (#25809025)
    This kind of thing is precisely why a third party should decide on hardware requirements for an operating system. Otherwise, marketing is sure to get in the way of the facts. If only Microsoft had realized this sooner... not only would they have avoided ticking off a business partner, but they may have been more inclined to improve some of Vista's benchmarks so that more machines were "actually" capable of running Vista. But now, they are left with a failed OS and a few less friends. Better luck with Windows 7. HP shouldn't be complaining too much though... they sold plenty of machines as "Vista capable" that had no business running Vista. Selling a machine with half a GB of RAM, and running Vista? There's no excuse for that.

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