Microsoft defends Vista's environmental impact

Software giant says it is prepared to meet the Green Party to discuss concerns around Vista
Written by Andrew Donoghue, Contributor

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.

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.

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