Monday, April 03, 2006

Microsoft attempts to mug English language

The growing realization that Microsoft's next version of the Window's operating system is not only going to be delayed, but also likely to be a complete bloatware resource hog, is leading to some interesting tap dancing on the part of the marketing department.

In an article in Computerworld, a JupiterResearch analyst tries to explain the difference between Microsoft's certification of PC's that are "Vista capable" and those that are actually able to run the new operating system.

My Oxford English dictionary defines capable as: having the ability or quality necessary to do something.

That is pretty straightforward, and does not anticipate a usage in which capable means "sort of able" or "we are just kidding, it won't really work".

Joe Wilcox, an analyst at JupiterResearch, stressed the importance of customers understanding the distinction between PCs "capable" of running Vista and those that are actually ready to do so.

"A system that will run Windows Vista may not be capable of using all of its features," he said. For example, Wilcox said, a machine branded Windows Vista Capable that is a high-end Media Center PC with superior graphics capabilities will be ready for even the most feature-intensive versions of Vista. But if it's a low-cost PC and it has a "Capable" sticker on it, "it will probably run the features of Home Basic but not anything else," he said.

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