Deep inside a dimly lit Microsoft boardroom a few years ago, several overpaid marketing tools came up with the term ‘Vista Capable.” This moniker was to be affixed to new computers ahead of Vista’s highly publicized launch. That way consumers could feel warm and fuzzy knowing that their new computer will be able to upgrade to glorious Vista down the road and it will run honky dory. We all know how that turned out. But didja know that Microsoft might have banked over $1.5 billion because of those little stickers?
Microsoft is currently in court over the dubious claim and that’s where this tantalizing detail was revealed. According to expert, Keith Leffler,
I have been asked by Plaintiffs’ counsel to estimate the amount of revenue earned by Microsoft from the licensing of Windows XP on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs sold to Plaintiffs. In Microsoft’s Supplemental Responses it estimates that it received revenue of [redacted] from Windows XP licenses on upgradeable PCs sold in the U.S. during the April 2006 through January 2007 period. From the estimates of Windows Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs compared to all upgradeable PCs as in Table 1, I estimate that [redacted] of the [redacted] from Windows XP licenses on upgradable PCs were for XP licenses on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs — those PCs purchased by the Plaintiff class. From these figures, I have, therefore reached the opinion that Microsoft revenue from the Windows XP licensing on Vista Capable but not Vista Premium Ready PCs sold to Plaintiffs was $1.505 billion.
Makes you wonder just how bad Microsoft wants Windows 7 to succeed. Enough that everyone will forget about Vista. Windows ME was quickly forgotten after XP launched so it can be done.