by Laurianne McLaughlin

Microsoft’s Stupid Vista Trick: Windows Mojave

Jul 29, 20083 mins
Enterprise Applications

I grimaced when I read that Microsoft has kicked off a marketing campaign where they show a consumer a PC running a new OS, called “Windows Mojave,” then reveal that it’s really Vista, and show the consumer’s happy surprise on camera. See, Vista isn’t so bad after all! But it’s true. As numerous bloggers have pointed out, Microsoft’s effort looks like those old Folgers coffee commercials where restaurant coffee gets secretly switched.

Sure, they’re going after consumers not enterprise IT buyers with this ad campaign, which you can peek at on the  Mojave experiment site that Microsoft has put up (with more video yet to come.)

But how foolish do they think consumers are?

Microsoft has the financial resources to do marketing and PR on a scale that many companies envy. Is this really the best tactic?

“Look, this woman online thinks Vista is pretty, honey. Maybe we should check it out after all.” You will not hear any of the folks in my neighborhood talking like this.

A larger advertising campaign to bolster Vista’s image is also coming soon. Perhaps these new ads will make Microsoft sound less defensive and more aggressive. We’ll see.

Microsoft has got its dander up, that’s for sure. Intel recently passed on Vista for its own employees, a public ding that had to hurt in Redmond. Those Apple commercials continue to poke fun at square old PC guy. Microsoft could have used a Vista commercial or an online campaign that approached the cool of an iPod commercial. But it hasn’t been given one, at least not yet.

The Microsoft Vista team even threw a public punch at the analysts at Forrester Research last week, on the Vista team blog, after Forrester released a report advising that many enterprises could pass on Vista and wait for Windows 7. According to the Forrester report, fewer than one in 11 of PCs in large enterprises currently sports Vista. Microsoft takes issue with that number.

This report represents a change in Forrester’s stance, since in April, Forrester told enterprises that Vista adoption was going well on the whole and not to be shy about early adoption. In its blog, Microsoft dubbed Forrester “schizophrenic.”

Microsoft does need to do some marketing work with Vista. No question. But “Windows Mojave” won’t do the trick.

There’s a funny thing about consumers. A ton of us work in technology-related companies or have someone in the family who does. In other words, we learned some lessons long ago regarding new operating systems. As veteran technology journalist Harry McCracken just pointed out in his blog, Vista will get better. Eventually. Historically, this has been the case with new operating systems (except for a few special misfits.)

But I’d guess that enterprise IT leaders who peek at the “Windows Mojave” experiment will have the same reaction that I had: Microsoft needs to wake up and smell some good coffee. Not Folgers. People just want a solid OS, sooner rather than later.