Microsoft bowed to Intel on Vista Capable issue

Seattle PI published the full set of emails complete with a 17-pages PDF document, thanks to a court order that allowed the website to missives to be published.

The email exchanges, Seattle says, show how convoluted the discussions at the very top of Microsoft have been over Vista's incompatibility problems, even with the company's own products; the article cites two MSN products and a host of hardware peripherals.

The intimate relationship that Microsoft enjoys with Intel was also exposed; the symbiotic couple, also known as Wintel, was the primary reason why Microsoft launched a Vista-capable campaign and further highlights the grip that Intel has on the computer industry, even on a company like Microsoft.

A message sent by a Microsoft executive said that the company reduced Windows Vista requirements for PCs to help Intel achieve their quarterly sales target by off-loading soon to be obsolete i915 chipsets, millions of them.

Had Microsoft refused to grant Vista Compatible status to machines build on the i915 platform, Intel would have had to face the wrath of hundreds of system builders and a bill of tens of millions of dollars.

Back in July 2006, Digitimes reported that Microsoft helped Intel with its i915 inventory woes by revising its guidelines.What is even more damaging is that some of Microsoft closest allies like HP and Walmart were against the decision to ship a half-baked Vista.

News.com brought in more information about the decision process; Microsoft apparently chose to modify the technical requirements stems from the fact that Intel wanted to continue to sell motherboards with the Vista incompatible integrated 915 chipset.

According to Intel's own FAQ page, the 915 Express chipset family cannot run anything other than Windows Vista Basic as it does not support Vista Aero.

The bottom line is that Microsoft knew that this would happen and chose the lesser of the two evils: a lawsuit, even if it ends up costing $100 million, will always be less than a damaged relationship with Intel.