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Ballmer's bid to swerve 'Vista Capable' row comes unstuck

Judge orders Microsoft boss to testify

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MS CEO Steve Ballmer has been ordered by a federal judge to testify in a class action lawsuit over the ongoing “Vista Capable” debacle.

In September Ballmer tried to distance himself from the row by claiming he had no direct involvement in Microsoft’s marketing campaign for the operating system.

But US District Judge Marsha Pechman has denied the “defendant’s motion for a protective order precluding the deposition of Steven A. Ballmer”.

Pechman gave consumers the go-ahead in February to file a class action lawsuit against Microsoft for providing misleading information about Windows XP computers being able to run Vista.

Plaintiffs in the case allege that Microsoft artificially inflated demand in the run-up to Christmas 2006, by falsely advertising that PCs would be capable of running the full version of the firm’s delayed Vista operating system.

Redmond’s “Windows Vista Capable” labels first appeared on computers in April 2006, even though the firm’s unloved OS didn’t get a general release until January last year.

Ballmer must give his deposition within 30 days of Pechman’s order, which was filed last Friday (21 November).

“The court appreciates that there are severe demands on Mr Ballmer’s time; however, a busy schedule cannot ‘shield’ an executive from discovery,” said the judge.

SeattlePI has a copy of the ruling here. ®

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