back to article Ballmer backs away from 'Vista Capable' legal row

Steve Ballmer has distanced himself from the ongoing “Vista Capable” legal spat by claiming he had no direct involvement in Microsoft’s marketing campaign for the operating system. In a document (pdf courtesy of SeattlePI) filed last Friday, the software giant’s CEO effectively exonerated himself in the Windows Vista Capable …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Talk about scared

    Thats a serious set of "it wasn't me guv, honest" type statements. I'm surprised he didn't try "I am not now, nor have I ever been, an employee of Microsoft".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How convenient...

    ...that he can find two handy people who no longer work for Microsoft to blame.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft's web of lies and deciept.

    "Xbox 360 does not have any systematic issues"

    "You PC Is Vista Capable".

    What about the OOXML lies?

    Just some that instantly spring to mind, any more Microsoft lies??

  4. Vincent

    Vista Home Basic is still Vista

    Vista Home Basic is still Windows Vista - the sticker doesn't tell you that it can run the premium versions of Vista.

    And besides, aren't there two different stickers? One says "Vista Capable" - and the other says "Vista Premium Ready". It seems self-explanitory to me.

    And why would you buy a computer without checking what OS it has anyway? Also, I don't know why in the world you'd want Aero running if your hardware can't support it very well.

    Flames because, well, that's probably what i'll get.

  5. Lee Jackson
    Gates Halo


    I thought the whole point of being the big cheese, and having a wonderfull salary and yearly bonus, was that you were accountable for pretty much anything that happens in your business?

    Am I missing something?

    If it is not the case, I will certainly be using this excuse with my Ops Manager in my next review :)

  6. Dave The Cardboard Box

    To the best of my recollection?

    Hmmm, so basically Ballmer doesn't use any Microsoft business software. You know, the stuff that records every single interaction you have within a company.

    Subpoena's For The Stupid is my Xmas charity this year.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    I mean ...

    ... what did we expect, really? That Barmy Ballmer was just going to 'fess up? This guy makes Enron execs look wholesome. If only, on that day back in 1980 when Bill was doing the hiring, he had said, "Maybe we should take one last look at that other guy ..."

  8. andy

    get your chair out

    "I was not involved..."

    And yet you're now the highest up in the company. Funny how that works.

    I'm sure if someone comes to question him directly he'll advise them to "take a chair".

  9. Mike Hocker
    Jobs Horns


    ...under penalty of pejury... ?

    Is this the pre-Release Vista Capable version of perjury?

  10. Neil Greatorex

    Ballmer: "Not me guv." & Rod meet back.

    Ballmer probably genuinely wasn't involved in the negotiations, though he must still be held ultimately accountable for the utter shite that is Fista.

    Having said that, all the twats that feel it necessary to have the latest Microsoft "shiny" really have made a rod for their own backs, and deserve no sympathy. Strike the class action I say!

    On a lighter note: a survey I read the other day revealed that only 4% of businesses in the UK have upgraded to Fista. Do we really have businesses that stupid?


  11. KenBW2
    Gates Horns


    the fact that he's the big boss means he takes the flack for his minions' doings. And anyway - was he not watching what was coming out of MS?

    Evil Bill because why didn't el reg make new Ballmer ones when they made the other crappy icons?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Live by the sword...

    For so long Microsoft have lived purely off the back of marketing with little or no technical merit within the company itself. What "innovation" they've had, they bought - everything else has been the smoke and mirrors of marketing.

    Except they went too far.


  13. Paul
    Gates Horns


    A bad boy did and then ran away...?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I think I see how this defence plan works:

    cover up the load of bollocks that was Windows Vista Capable with an even bigger load of bollocks, and hope nobody notices. Clever stuff.

  15. Ishkandar


    I think the point here is that Microsoft did not specify the *ANY hardware oomph* needed to run Vista and the hardware makers/knocker-uppers simply slapped "Vista ready" on any old rubbish.

    It is no different from the "HD ready" labels on TV that may *NOT* be capable of receiving British HD broadcasts !! The best thing for the board of Dixons/Comet/PCWorld is to use the excuse of the credit crunch and fold their companies before they get hit by a blizzard of law suits for HD ready TVs that are not HD ready.

    I'm not a fan of Baldy Ballmer but in this instance, he may actually weasel his way out of this one !!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    The old Ronald Reagan amnesia excuse...

    ... it's truely pathetic when the best he can come up with is "Don't blame me - I'm only in charge at the very top of the firm, so obviously I have never known nor done anything". If he never does anything, what the hell is he for?

    If what he says is true, he's been defrauding MS shareholders for the past however many years by drawing a salary and only pretending to work for MS. They should launch a class action...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Factual reporting error !

    "Lawyers acting for the plaintiff in the class action lawsuit have been going after Ballmer’s scalp by requesting he be deposed in the case".

    Judging by the light bouncing off his head I think north american indians got there first !

    Steve Jobs ? Because he's a slap head too.

    Just noticed another reporting error - your using Vista and Capable in the same sentence.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where in the world is webster?

    When MS gets caught out ... guess who is nowhere to be seen on the comments?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'm surprised

    HA HA HA...that he didn't blame Bill.

    @KenBW2 - don't call me Shirley.

    He may just as well use the wookie defence(TM).

    Paris, 'cuz even she knows when to keep her mouth shut.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant

    Especially an anti-Microsoft rant.

    It's pretty unlikely that Ballmer knows anything about the Vista Capable campaign that the people that were responsible for the product don't know. So deposing Ballmer won't serve any purpose except to waste his time - it's a nuisance tactic, used to try to "soften up".

    The plaintiffs have applied to a judge for permission to depose Ballmer. Ballmer's response to the judge is simply that the plaintiffs are just hassling him, and that there's no practical reason why he should be dragged into this at this point.

    If the judge tells the plaintiffs to take a hike, will the Register give that "news" the same prominence as this story?

  21. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Vincent: You are undermined

    By the fact that one of the Microsoft bigwigs, Mike Nash, bought a machine with that sticker on it, and he felt cheated.

    "I know that I chose my laptop (a SONY TX770P) because it had the Vista logo and was pretty disappointed that it not only wouldn't run Glass, but more importantly wouldn't run Movie Maker," Nash wrote. "I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine."

    So if the MS guy didn't get it, what chance the public?

  22. Eric Dennis
    Dead Vulture


    Isn't it interesting how company CEO's always tend to suddenly have "amnesia" about what their senior management is and isn't doing only when their companies are sued for some wrong doing?? That is exactly the same excuse that the CEO's of MCI and Enron gave at their trials. You see how that worked out. They are both doing time, aren't they?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did any of us expect anything else from Ballmer? Smoke and mirrors are the M$ party line and we all know that Ballmer tows that line with a vengeance.

  24. Heff
    Paris Hilton

    In Other News...

    Man at top of worlds most renowned OS manufacturer denies responsibility or knowledge of things to do with launch of biggest OS launch in history of company, states;

    "Im paid to be responsible and take credit for things, sure.... just not when the company shits the bed"

    CEO : The guy reponsible for the company. Corporate manslaughter is fairly clear on this, so why cant Corporate fraud catch up to that standard?

    Paris, because even best out of three she can tell you what the hell shes doing.

  25. Charlie van Becelaere

    Still Waiting

    for the Evil Ballmer icon.

  26. Steven Ballmer
    Thumb Up

    That's My Story ....

    ... and I'm sticking with it!

  27. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Gates Halo

    @ What about the OOXML lies?

    I was wondering what could have kept Mr Ballmer so distracted that he never noticed what the core of his business wasn't up to.

    @ "By the fact that one of the Microsoft bigwigs, Mike Nash, bought a machine with that sticker on it, and he felt cheated.

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

    I suppose the proof that Windows doesn't work is.. no..

    I suppose the fact that Microsoft doesn't know that Windows doesn't w...

    Let me think about this..

    Come back in a few years.

  28. Charles Manning

    But he thought up the marketing slogan

    Don't you remember?

    Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,Vista, Vista,

  29. ChrisInBelgium

    Why is everyone surprised?

    Come on, is anybody really surprised about this? All the fat cats in a big corporation are useless a**holes anyway. They either have the right connections, have a lot of money to start with or are known to have no scruples and ethics so they can be made to do just about anything without losing sleep over it. These people lie for a living, that's why they are also paranoid and think everybody else must lie all the time as well.

    They couldn't find their own backside if they tried, despite the fact they constantly talk out of it.

    No excuse though, as CEO, you are RESPONSIBLE, not knowing has nothing to do with it. That's why you get such a big salary Ballmer. Or why did you think that was?

  30. Ralph B

    @ Still Waiting

    I think The Reg's delay in producing an "Evil Ballmer" icon is due to the implausibility of a matching "Good Ballmer" icon.

  31. Bill Norrie

    No change there then...........

    What's that sound? Oh! its just the swish of a large umbrella being opened by that guy with sloping shoulders...............

    Mine's the one with the very smooth surface so that nothing sticks to it!

  32. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Vista Home Basic is still Vista

    And Vista Ultimate is still Vista.

    But your "Vista Capable" PC won't run it.

    Hell, one of the executive officers got stung by it! How much of a fucking pussy ARE you???

  33. Mostor Astrakan
    Gates Horns

    Can I have a job at Microsoft?

    Really... To have your highest boss come out saying that he officially doesn't know or approve of what the hell you think you're doing. A day to call in sick, methinks...

  34. Doug Jenkins
    Thumb Down

    Ballmer bawls

    Yikes...another high-'functioning' non-connected boss....we are full of 'em!!

  35. alan

    just got a new laptop.....

    with 4gb ddr2, dual core 2GHZ Intel celery-derivative, 256mb ATI dedicated graphics which can easily run gears of war + crysis but........

    it came with Fista Home Premium preloaded - and it struggles with teh bubbly Aeros.

    That's the first time I've ever used it, being a Tux fanboi myself - I just thought I'd mention that if I were the CEO of Microsoft, I'd deny all knowledge of that piece of shit aswell.

    Some things were meant to be forgotten......

    one of those things is Micro$haft

  36. Henry Cobb
    Gates Horns

    Warm and fuzzy feeling

    Would you run your computer on MS software that even Ballmer doesn't know anything about?

  37. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Corporate executive lies.

    "To the best of my recollection..." Translation: "I know no-thing! No-thing!"

  38. Dillon Pyron
    Gates Halo

    But Bill was THE genius

    When Our Lord and Saviour, The Bill, was the top boss, everything that happened at M$ was in someway accredited to him. Now it seems that Ballmer probably needs to go to school to learn how to use Outlook, since he didn't see the calendar entries for those meetings.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read the legalese and depose this guy....

    "I do not have any unique knowledge of nor did I have any unique involvement "

    All right then, be deposed so we know who are the other parties that shared in the knowledge, and by insinuation, the conspiracy.

  40. Sam


    All sniping about this worthless coward aside, what will this do to the MS share price?

  41. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Jobs Halo

    This is getting silly

    I'm constantly amused by all this anti-Vista ranting. I, personally, usually use a Mac... which runs OS X and Vista, thanks to Boot Camp. OS X is noticeably faster on it than Vista, but Vista's simply not as bad as some would say. But then the iMac I use for my main machine has adequate hardware... You get what you pay for.

    I have several Macs and Windows boxes in this building. Most of the WinBoxes are hand-builts, 'cause I wasn't about to buy the crap that the major vendors ship. My iMac does a sufficiently better job of running Vista than the dedicated WinBoxes that said WinBoxes mostly run XP and I reboot the iMac when I want to go with Vista. Or I crank up VMWare. Vista actually runs faster on my iMac using VMWare than it does on the nearest WinBox, but then that WinBox has a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 and only 2.5 GB RAM, while the iMac has a 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo and 4 GB. You get what you pay for...

    The best laptops for Vista are MacBooks. Yes, HP and Dell have laptops which cost a fraction of the US@2000-plus that a MacBook costs, but the performance of those low-end machines simply sucks. And the high-end machine which have acceptable performance cost about what the MacBook costs. You get what you pay for... Mostly, anyway. The MacBook I use (when available, I have to get one for myself) cost _less_ than the $2100 that a certain Mickeysoft exec paid for _his_ laptop... and _it_ can run Vista Ultimate. Not that it does, it runs OS X and Vista Business 'cause I ain't approving a purchase order for Vista Ultimate. Damn, but it's bad when _Apple_ makes machines which run Mickeysoft OSes better than Dell or HP can...

    The major problem I have with Vista, other than the insane pricing, is that every now and again WGA decides that one or more of the Macs has a pirated version of Vista (it used to do it with XP, too, but hasn't done that for a while) and I get to go nuclear on Redmond. It's almost as if Mickeysoft doesn't want its OSes to run on Macs...

  42. Rex Alfie Lee
    Jobs Horns

    I'm Innocent

    Stevie-babee: Yes, I'm the boss!

    Reporter: So you make the decisions?

    Stevie-babee: Yup, sure do!

    Reporter: So you're responsible for this incredible M$ F-up?

    Stevie-babee: Yup, sure am!

    Reporter: So you're the FAT controller?

    Stevie-babee: Yup, sure am

    Reporter: So you're responsible for delivering good software?

    Stevie-babee: Yup, what's your point?

    Reporter: So you're responsible for Vista crap?

    Stevie-babee: Yup, no, I had nothing to do with that. Nothing. I wasn't even here. I was in Mexico.

    Reporter: The whole 5 or 6 years you were in Mexico? What about your ridiculous floorshow?

    Stevie-babee: Nup, no, wasn't me. Someone pulled out a look-alike I wasn't even here. I was in Mexico or somewhere like that.

    Reporter: You don't know exactly?

    Stevie-babee: Nup, no, can't remember.

    Reporter: So you're a liar as well as a weasel?

    Stevie-babee: Nup, no, not me

  43. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: This is getting silly

    "I, personally, usually use a Mac... which runs OS X and Vista, thanks to Boot Camp. "

    Why bring that up? It doesn't mean that you're right in anything else you say.

    That the rest of the "message" has fuck all to do with the thread is merely icing on the turd-cake.

    Want a slice?

  44. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Jobs Halo

    re Mark

    I, personally, usually use a Mac... which runs OS X and Vista, thanks to Boot Camp. "

    Why bring that up?

    I brought it up to show several things.

    1 Vista actually does work, even on hardware not optimised for it.

    2 Vista, contrary to some statements, isn't slow... on good enough hardware.

    3 I have no axe to grind in the anti-Vista ranting, 'cause I'm a Mac user. The differences between XP and Vista are, to me, barely significant. (Other than UAC, that is... and that's easily fixed.) I can't see what all the screaming is about.

    " It doesn't mean that you're right in anything else you say.

    That the rest of the "message" has fuck all to do with the thread is merely icing on the turd-cake.

    Want a slice?"

    It's a matter of fact that Macs run Mickeysoft OSes better than bottom-level crap from HP, Dell, etc. It's easily verified, too. It's a fact that, when run on good hardware, Vista simply is not as bad as some would say it is. If you run Vista on older hardware, it will not behave at its best. However, you have to run it on _really_ old hardware to make it stink up the place as bad as some say. And, frankly, anyone who spent $2100 on a laptop which can't run anything better than Basic ain't too damn bright, not when a $2000 MacBook of roughly the same vintage _will_ run Vista Business, and will do it quite quickly.

    My hand-built Penium 4 box, now over 3 years old (that is, built to run XP 'cause Vista didn't exist then) has a 'Vista experience' index of 3.3. My iMac has an index of 5.5 when booted directly from the Vista partition and 2.8 when running Vista from VMWare. An assortment of low-end HP and Dell laptops and desktops currently on sale show indices ranging from a low of 2.4 (for a HP laptop, a Pavilion, IIRC) to 3.8. Or from _slower than my Mac running Vista under VMWare to slightly faster than a 3 going on 4 year old hand-built Pentium 4 box. The desktops all cost under $700, the laptops under $1000. If I move up to the $1500 price range for desktops, their performance typically gives a 'Vista index' of between 4 and 5... or slower than my $1300 iMac. Yes, the Mac gives better performance and costs less. What a concept... $2000 laptops range from 3.8 to 5.2... and so _still_ run slower than either my MacBook or my iMac, at the same price-point as the MacBook.

    it's not that Vista is that bad, it's that the hardware some are running it on sucks. Get better hardware. Apple makes it, as does Dell and HP... just not at bottom-feeder prices. I'm quite confident that if I had to I could build a hand-built box which would outperform the iMac when running Vista and would cost less. However, as the iMac does what I want it to, and I already have it, I can't be arsed to try. And, besides, making the hand-built box run OS X, where most of my apps are, would be a pain. One attraction of the iMac was to have one machine which can run any app I might want to run. (Sorry, Tuxers, but there simply isn't anything I want to run which runs under Linux and _doesn't_ have some alternative which runs under either Windows or OS X or both, and there are a lot of things I _must_ have to do my job which run under Windows or OS X or both but don't run under any variety of Linux. If, someday, there's a Linux killer app which has no equivalent under Windows or OS X, then I might stick Linux on one of the WinBoxes or maybe on the iMac. Until then...)

  45. Mark
    Thumb Down


    "I brought it up to show several things.

    1 Vista actually does work, even on hardware not optimised for it.

    2 Vista, contrary to some statements, isn't slow... on good enough hardware"

    This doesn't show #1. If it did, then the "Vista Capable" certification was far too lax. A certification process that Microsoft produced.

    Slam Dunk. Three pointer.

    Point #2 is frigging ridiculous. So Vista runs fast enough if you get really fast hardware. Uh, when is that helpful? IN EVERY CASE. If you overclock the Z80 in a spectrum to 8MHz, guess what: it runs faster!!!


    If anything, that point makes the Vista Capable routine (that MS created, you may remember) was incorrect and did not render a machine capable of Vista.

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