That Darn ‘V-Word’ Again

An article on the Microsoft Blog reminded me of the Get a Mac: V-Word commerical from October 2008:


As the ‘Vista Capable’ lawsuit continues to drag on, more documents have been released. This time, documents dated around August 2005 from Windows Product Management Group advised Microsoft not to use ‘Vista’ generation name on “Home Basic”, instead only carry the Windows brand name. They also gave the same advice for the “Stater Edition” (not available in United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Australia or New Zealand).

A quick refresher, a PC ‘branded’ as ‘Vista Capable’ meets the minimum requirements to run the Home Basic version of Windows Vista. In the commerical PC announces “…we’re going to use a word with a lot less baggage, Windows.” Now, replace ‘baggage’ with ‘expectations’ and you have the reasoning for these recommendations.  The Windows Product Management Group felt that by not using ‘Vista’ in the Home Basic name would keep consumers from being ‘disappointed’ that this version of Windows Vista didn’t have the advanced features available in the ‘Premium’ versions. These features included the Aero Glass Interface, Premium Games, Movie/DVD maker, media center and more. Microsoft’s deceleration for going against these recommendations (which were backed by Dell) was to avoid  “‘customer confusion’ because customers might think ‘a new PC with Home Basic did not come with the latest [operating system]’ when in fact it did.”

In some ways I have to agree with Microsoft here in regards to causing consumer confusion. But at the same time they already created ‘consumer confusion’ by having six editions (Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate). Then add in 32-bit or 64-bit (except Starter and Home Basic) versions. Of course Microsoft started this with Windows XP with its Home and Pro editions.