Because Microsoft rely on preinstalled copies of Windows - since they are the only ones anyone pays for.
So when the vendors pointed out that it would be expensive to build machines that met Windows Vista system requirements - MSFT introduced the basic certification, allowing the makers to claim that the machine ran Vista, allowing MSFT to get paid - and the punter to get stuck with a machine that didn't work.
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- OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs