Microsoft defends Vista's environmental impact

Microsoft defends Vista's environmental impact

Summary: Software giant says it is prepared to meet the Green Party to discuss concerns around Vista

TOPICS: Hardware

Microsoft has responded to claims from the Green Party and the British Computer Society that its new Vista operating system will force older PCs to be dumped.

The Green Party issued a press release on Monday claiming that consumers who move to Vista, which launched to consumers on Tuesday, will be forced to buy more expensive and energy-hungry hardware, which will have a knock-on effect on the environment. .

"Future archaeologists will be able to identify a 'Vista Upgrade Layer' when they go through our landfill sites," claimed Green Party Female principal speaker Sian Berry.

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But in a statement sent to ZDNet UK, on Tuesday, Microsoft director of government affairs, Matt Lambert, said the company was doing its best to improve its environmental standing. "Environmental issues are important to us all and we believe we are making important steps towards reducing the environmental footprint of our products and the hardware on which they run," Lambert said.

Lambert added that Microsoft is happy to meet with the Green Party to discuss its environmental record.

The Green Party's warning about the environmental impact of Vista follows a similar statement from the British Computer Society (BCS) in December last year. It urged people to ensure that they dispose of old machines in an environmentally responsible way.

IT charity Computer Aid has also highlighted the impact that Vista could have in terms of discarded hardware. Tony Roberts, chief executive of Computer Aid, said that up to 10 million PCs may be discarded in the next two years as a direct result of Vista.

"We are urging individuals and businesses to consider the environmental impact of those old machines, many of which will still be in perfect working order. And we are reminding them that re-use is the best option for the environment," Roberts said. "Choosing re-use over recycling allows IT equipment to be used until the real end of its productive life, enabling individuals and businesses to reduce their environmental footprint."

Computer Aid takes old PCs, professionally wipes them of their legacy data, refurbishes them and then sends them to schools and other educational organisations in the developing world.

If you are interested in donating to Computer Aid, a team from ZDNet UK's publisher, CNET Networks, is taking part in a charity bike ride across Kenya during February to raise money for the organisation.

Topic: Hardware

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

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  • Microsoft

    What is Microsoft's approch to the environment , except weasel words?

    Computer manufactures have been given some responsiblities for safe disposal, but is this enough?

    Software, inter alia, drives the demand for for hardware and therefore contributes to environmental issues which it is finally being acknowled are critical the the future of our world, the future of our children and grand children.

    Therefore Microsoft, Intel, etc. also need to be held accountable for the environmental impact of their activities. Planting a few trees is not enough!

    What future for our children and grand children when there is a shortage of water, oil, electricity and other essential resources, together with the apparently inescapable impact of global warming.

    What good all this technology then, when we they live in a barren world, without the basic skills to survive.

    Doom and Gloom, yes but ........
    The Former Moley
  • and Microsoft's defence is ... ?

    This article touches on a number of directly (and indirectly) related issues here - primarily, opportunities available to re-use older PC units/components and encouragements for people to dispose of these responsibly.

    Perhaps the article lost it's way or Microsoft really do not have any policies around environmental responsibility beyond rhetoric?!

    They do use the word which they should be supporting more radically though, and that is "reduce". We could really use some evidence that Microsoft is providing improved functionality on less, rather than more, resource hungry platforms (regardless of the fact the platform trend is upwards, that is not the point here). If I could see Microsoft pushing thinner client solutions and have desktops which run happily on pentium/pre-pentium platforms I would be more inclined to take them seriously. But I perhaps that is against their own business objectives?
  • Resource hog

    I checked out RC1 & RC2 of vista and both said my system was capable to run vista ultimate. Yet, it wasn't. Processor (AMD 2000, 1.66ghz), 256 video card. I downloaded Mandriva Linux, which has a true 3D desktop, and everything ran fine, including all the 3D stuff.
    Vista is a resource hog which will add to environmental woes and M$
    couldn't care less. Their main concern is REVENUE, period.