Lawyers representing consumers in a suit over Microsoft’s “Windows Vista Capable” marketing program recently proposed distributing the class-action notice via Windows Update — the same mechanism that the company ordinarily uses to automatically send out its security patches. In a new filing in U.S. District Court in Seattle (PDF, 15 pages) the company reacts strongly to the idea.
“[T]he Court should deny Plaintiffs attempt to hijack Microsoft s Windows Update service to distribute class notice. Microsoft has told consumers and businesses that it uses Windows Update for software updates to the Windows operating system, never for general informational messages. Microsoft has used Windows Update consistent with that technical purpose. Plaintiffs plan, however, would use Windows Update to foist irrelevant notice on persons owning over 120 million PCs that are not the subject of this case, who should not be forced to spend time reading a notice that, as to them, amounts to spam. Nor should Microsoft be forced to risk the good will of those customers or expend resources addressing their reactions to class notice they should not receive. The Court should deny Plaintiffs unprecedented request to divert Windows Update from its important technical purpose.”
In their Oct. 2 motion proposing the idea (PDF, 13 pages) the plaintiffs’ lawyers said Windows Update would provide a means of “efficiently and directly” notifying consumers who might be eligible for the class action.
Microsoft and PC makers used the Windows Vista Capable designation before the operating system was launched in January 2007. The program, launched after Windows Vista was delayed, was an effort to assure computer users that the PCs they were buying would be able to run Vista when it came out.
Earlier filings in the case revealed internal Microsoft e-mails in which company executives privately expressed concerns about Windows Vista, even as the company praised it publicly. Microsoft is also opposing efforts by the plaintiffs to depose CEO Steve Ballmer as part of the case.
– Todd Bishop firstname.lastname@example.org