Windows Mojave… the great new version of Windows [Vista]

For a while now, Apple has been poking fun at [Windows] PCs in it’s Mac vs. PC ads. The ads are usually funny – just not very accurate. I really wanted Microsoft to come back with something and they have. Not as humourous – frankly a bit “corporate” – but, nevertheless, the first phase in a $300m campaign is “The Mojave Experiment”.

You see, Windows Vista is doing fine. It’s sold 180 million copies and, comparing percentage market share, Vista is up on where XP was at the same point in its lifecycle but it has suffered from some very bad press. Ironically, it’s harshest critics are the same journalists that think Windows Server 2008 (basically the same core OS with a different feature set) “excels in just about every area […] in contrast to Vista” [Jon Honeyball, PC Pro, February 2008].

The trouble is, that perception is reality. The word got out that Vista was a heap of junk and it spread. Sure, there were some problems when it first released – and that’s one of the reasons it shipped to corporates (who generally run a well-tested desktop image on a limited set of hardware) before it was released to consumers. Lack of device driver support is hardly Microsoft’s fault – they spent 5 years getting Vista ready (and talking to hardware vendors about the device driver model all the way through) – sadly though, the lack of driver support became Microsoft’s problem.

After more than 18 months of bad press, Microsoft figured that if people saw Vista first-hand they might actually like it. They took a bunch of people – average PC users – and asked them what they thought of Windows Vista. They hated it. Most of them had never seen it, but they’d heard it was bad. Next, in an attempt to challenge their preconceived opinions, Microsoft showed the same PC users the latest version of Windows – “Windows Mojave” – and they loved it. Then they were told that Windows Mojave was Windows Vista.

The “Mojave Experiment” website was launched yesterday (although it had been previously reported by CNET and others) and it’s worth a look, although I’m sure true sceptics will still regale stories of obscure things that didn’t work for them on their home-brew PC [or perhaps they’ll just resort to calling me a Microsoft fanboy…].

So, what went wrong with Vista? Well, two years ago, I said that the marketing message wasn’t good enough – and, on the whole, I still don’t think that Microsoft has done a great job of articulating the benefits of Vista. Hopefully this latest campaign will help. Sadly, I have heard many customers say “we’re skipping Vista and moving straight to Windows 7”, like they think that’s going to make the job of dealing with their legacy application compatibility issues any easier. In fact, I believe that the answer for corporates is not a wholesale move to the next (or the next, next) operating system release, but a system of managed diversity.

I’m tired of hearing certain sections of the IT press refer to Windows Vista as Microsoft’s latest Windows ME. ME was awful (and anyway, business users should have been running NT-based operating systems, not Windows 95/98/ME) but Windows Vista is a good operating system. Really. I can honestly say that, running on modern hardware (not necessarily a new PC), I have had no significant issues with Windows Vista. It may not be a necessary upgrade for everyone (if you’re happy with your existing XP installation, then sticking with XP might be the right thing to do) but there really is no need to avoid Vista entirely, or to deliberately downgrade.

As I said last month:

“For the majority of Microsoft’s […] customers, there are very few reasons why Windows XP should be deployed on new PCs in preference to Windows Vista.”

Don’t just take my word for it: see for yourself; decide for yourself.

6 thoughts on “Windows Mojave… the great new version of Windows [Vista]


  1. Mark,

    I absolutely agree. Our messaging hasn’t been good enough. I worked on the Windows Vista launch. (I’m a software evangelist — I’m one of those people presenting in the front of the room at public Microsoft events.) I had a lot of people come up and tell me after one of my presentations that they absolutely loved what Vista could do for them, but before they saw me — they had NO IDEA what it was capable of. In a hope to reach more people than I do at our public events, I have started a blog post series entitled: Why Vista? I am documenting the features that were introduced in the product to give everyone (even those who’ve been using it for awhile) an idea of what it can really do to help you.

    You can find the series at: The Blog at the End of the Universe

    Thanks,
    Dan


  2. The Register’s article makes some interesting points but, just to pick up on a few things (and I appreciate it’s only a few points from a two-page article):

    “Windows Vista prior to SP1 failed to meet the needs of ordinary users. And no amount of blaming Apple, analysts or stooopid users was going to change that.”

    The stoopid users comment links to an article from Tim Andersen. A few months ago, Tim highlighted a comment I made in a post I wrote about Vista and responded by saying that:

    “Server 2008 delivers new features that customers wanted, whereas Vista delivers new features that Microsoft thought its customers should want.”

    Tim’s probably right about that – but those features were things like forcing in some security (because stupid users click on stupid links and get stupid malware – sometimes you have to protect people against themselves – like stopping them from running with full administrative rights). Occasionally, I feel sorry for Microsoft. On the one hand, they get criticised for a perceived lack of innovation, yet if they do something different then they are seen to be forcing features on people.

    “A major block was the lack of third-party hardware or software support.”

    See my comments in the original post… ISVs and IHVs had 5 years to get ready for Vista – the trouble is that they won’t develop the drivers or applications until there is proven demand and there is no demand until there is driver support (continue ad infinitum).

    “Apple was a long way behind on the desktop, but its now enjoying a surge in sales”

    Yep, 2 of the last 3 PCs I bought were from Apple but I also run Windows Vista on one of them… so Microsoft still sells a license. From Microsoft’s point of view, a PC is still a PC – even if it comes from Apple and is supplied with a competing operating system. Oh yes, and whilst Apple is experiencing phenomenal growth, from what I can see, most of that growth is in the United States of America – which, contrary to popular belief in the author’s native homeland, is just one (admittedly rather large) country. Finally on this point, Apple is picking up consumers, but I haven’t seen any evidence of businesses “switching”, so is Microsoft really interested in losing sales to Apple?

    In the interests of objectivity ;-) I recommend a read of The Register’s article – but then remember that the press loves a story – and Vista-bashing is still popular.

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