You're Not Alone: Microsoft Execs Struggled with Vista

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Microsoft officials, including a member of the Microsoft board of directors, voiced some of the same complaints about missing drivers and crippled graphics that users have raised since Vista debuted in January 2007.

They had trouble getting Windows Vista to work in the weeks after its release, according to company e-mails unsealed today.

Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft senior vice president who took charge of Windows development the day after Vista's retail release, was among the top officials who said some of their hardware wouldn't work with the new operating system. "My home multi-function printer did not have drivers until 2/2 and even then [they] pulled their 1/30 drivers and released them (Brother)," said Sinofsky in an e-mail dated Feb. 18, 2007.

"People who rely on using all the features of their hardware will not see availability for some time, if ever, depending on the [manufacturer]," Sinofsky continued in the message. "The built-in drivers never have all the features but do work. For example, I could print with my Brother printer and use it as a stand-alone fax. But network setup, scanning, print to fax must come from Brother."

Sinofsky's e-mail was one of hundreds made public Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman as part of a lawsuit that claims Microsoft deceived buyers when it promoted PCs as "Windows Vista Capable" in the run-up to the 2006 holiday season. The lawsuit, which was granted class-action status last Friday, charges that the Vista Capable logo was slapped on systems that could run only the lowest-priced and lowest-powered version, Windows Vista Home Basic. That edition omits several of the most heavily promoted features of Vista, including Aero, the revamped graphical interface that in some ways resembles the look and feel of Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X.

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