US district court judge Marsha Pechman ruled that the "Vista Capable" lawsuit should not be allowed to proceed as a Class Action case, much to the relief of Microsoft.
In her ruling, the judge recognised that there was "Absent evidence of class-wide price inflation, Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that common questions predominate over individual considerations."
She noticed that the claimants could not neither prove that Vista Home Basic was not the real Vista nor that they had been overcharged for their computers following the "Vista Capable" campaign.
A Microsoft spokesperson stated that "We're pleased that the court granted our motion to decertify the class, leaving only the claims of six individuals, we look forward to presenting our case to the jury, should the plaintiffs elect to pursue their individual claims."
This means that only individual consumers, rather than consumer groups, can sue the company which essentially reduces the risks for Microsoft to hand out huge payouts, up to $8.5 billion according to some estimates.
The case was made more sensitive for Microsoft after company emails were leaked revealing how Microsoft colluded with Intel to market "Vista Capable" computers.
There has been a growing backlash from Vista users after many found out that their "Vista Capable" computers and laptops could only run Windows Home Basic and that upgrading to other versions will leave out some advanced features (ed: mostly the Aero User Interface).
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Microsoft is also facing another lawsuit over a Vista to XP downgrade fee although to be fair, this one has even less chance of being awarded a Class Action status. Microsoft is almost certainly the company which has settled the most lawsuits in history with well over $10 billion already paid out. The size of the company, its dominance in the tech industry and the sheer complexity of the business helps explain that.