Two Middle Americans have sued Acer over its low-cost Aspire notebooks, claiming that the Taiwanese PC giant pre-installed Windows Vista on machines ill-equipped to run Microsoft's latest OS.
With a lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco, California, two residents of Fostoria, Ohio seek damages and relief from the world's third-largest computer maker after purchasing a sub-$600 Aspire notebook that included Windows Vista Premium and a gigabyte of shared system and graphics memory.
In its official "recommended system requirements," Microsoft recommends that an additional 128MB is required to run the Premium incarnation of its latest desktop operating system.
"A notebook pre-installed with Vista Premium requires access to at least 1GB of system RAM plus 128MB of RAM dedicated to the graphics adaptor to run properly," the suit reads. "Acer's Defective Notebooks are inherently defective in that they do not contain enough RAM to properly run Vista Premium...despite being promoted and sold as a bundled product of both a notebook computer and a premium operating system."
Plaintiffs Lora and Clay Wolph purchased their Acer Aspire 4520-5458 notebook at a Wal-Mart in April 2008. Cost: $568.36. Shortly after purchasing, they discovered that "their computer would not run properly and that it experienced numerous 'crashes,' 'freezing,' and was operating very slowly."
Some unnamed "computer professionals" told the Wolphs that extra memory was needed to effectively run Vista Premium, so they complained to Acer. According to their suit - which seeks class action status - a company support rep responded by pointing out that although Microsoft recommended a 1GB requirement, the "minimum requirement" is only 512MB.
Which is true. Microsoft says that the Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions of Vista will run on 512MB systems - with certain OS features disabled. In the beginning, Redmond called these "Vista Capable" machines, and it's facing a separate lawsuit over this potentially misleading moniker.
Eventually, the Wolphs shelled out an extra $157.40 for more memory "so that their notebook would run as marketed, advertised, promoted, warranted, and/or sold by Acer." No word on whether it actually did. But The Reg can confirm than even with an additional 128MB of memory, Windows Vista is nothing more than a dog. ®