Mojave Works for Consumers But Not Techies

So Microsoft conducted an experiment where it put 120 regular computer users (but Windows Vista avoiders) in front of a Vista-based computer and told them that it was a hands-on, sneak peak at the next Microsoft operating system, codenamed “Mojave.” As it turns out, 94 percent rated Vista much higher after seeing it. On a scale from 1-10, the participants’ average rating for Vista before was 4.4, and the average rating after seeing Vista (but not knowing it was Vista) was 8.5.

I thought it was a decent way of showing the negative side of the “network effect.” Vista had lots of issues at its launch (many of which are fixed now) and plenty of people were pretty vocal about their negative experiences. Combine this with Apple marketing pumping out PC-bashing ads, and you have lots and lots of people who’ve heard about Vista but never tried it due to the perception created around them.

Microsoft has just shown us (videos of this experiment are public now) how much perception really matters… or so I thought. The tech blogosphere still isn’t convinced, with plenty refusing to give this any credibility. There’s Techdirt’s title of “Microsoft Plays Practical Joke On People To Convince Them They Like Vista” and Engadget’s “Mojave Experiment goes live, doesn’t fail to annoy.” Plus, Crunchgear calls the experiment “kind of dumb.” And even Cnet is hesitant with its take by saying, “there is a huge difference between seeing what amounts to a short demo of an operating system and actually having to install new software, work with existing devices, and do the kinds of everyday computing tasks we all do.”

In fact, that Cnet quote sums up the main issue the techie skeptics have. Well, that and the fact that the experiment wasn’t scientific enough. But does it need to be more scientific to prove the perception point?

Say Microsoft did a more scientific approach with users taking it home and using it for weeks at a time after being used to something else. We’d then need to test it against other users taking home some other OS and installing/testing it after being used to something else, right? Change can be a pain. And I’m not convinced that for the average home computer consumer that changing to Windows Vista (from whatever) is any more painful than changing from Windows to OSX or Windows to Linux, especially if we’re talking a change with no new hardware.

Of course, I could be wrong, but where’s the “scientific approach” that tells me I’m wrong? Oh, wait, there isn’t one. There are just cute Apple ads and a vocal techie crowd that feels like their anecdotal first mover experiences supersede the very same scientific approach that they demand from Microsoft. And the irony is that this type of behavior being used as ammo against Vista’s current state for the home consumer is little more than the perception Microsoft is showing us is so prevalent among the Vista avoiders out there.

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  • http://berniepallek.ca/ b

    Sorry, but this post sounds like marketing copy. …”I also work for Microsoft.” — at least there's disclosure.

    A buddy of mine has had Vista for over a year, and STILL can't suspend/hibernate because of inadequate driver support for his NON-exotic hardware.

    My brother has a laptop which came bundled with Vista, and I spent FAR TOO LONG trying to find the new locations for various settings when I was hooking up his WLAN (not to mention the STILL-insane reboot times, and — hey, wait, we STILL have to reboot when changing some simple things? Argh!). Why move well-known locations of things? Oh right, because it has to appear that SOMETHING has changed to merit one's hard-earned dollars. :-b

    Thanks, but I'm sticking with a combo of XP and *NIX-based systems.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Well, that didn't take long… I was wondering if I'd get the “but you work for Microsoft” rhetoric. All your points seem valid to me, b. But I actually switched to Vista because I wanted to (well before I started work at Microsoft, btw) and for lots of features that don't exist in XP.

    I could go into detail, but what's the point? We both have anecdotal experiences that made us go different routes. The real point is that neither of us can say for sure that our experiences in the past are basis enough for what we think would be the experiences for anyone else now. And Microsoft pointed that out in its experiment.

  • http://www.kolemcrae.com Kole McRae

    Notes: People say it makes Microsoft customers feel stupid, will that sell?

    Counternote: So the Mac versus PC ads don’t make PC users feel like idiots?

    Note: IT was shown on a slick new machine that of course will make vista look good.

    Counter note: it was shown on a machine with 2 gigs of ram and a ducore processor… which is average for a new computer.

    Note: what about users with old computers?

    Counternote: That’s like asking why you can’t play wii baseball on your old Nintendo 64… it’s a new generation of software for a new generation of computers.

    Note: it was a guided demonstration which can make anything look good.

    Counternote: Without the guided demonstration people may never notice a lot of the cool little features available.

    Note: These are average users who won't notice the problems with drivers etc.

    counternote: Vista is made to appeal to the average person, not a computer geek… thats what linux is for.

    Kole McRae – Style, Wit and Results – Kole is a writer who sees the world a bit differently.

  • http://www.kolemcrae.com Kole McRae

    Notes: People say it makes Microsoft customers feel stupid, will that sell?

    Counternote: So the Mac versus PC ads don’t make PC users feel like idiots?

    Note: IT was shown on a slick new machine that of course will make vista look good.

    Counter note: it was shown on a machine with 2 gigs of ram and a ducore processor… which is average for a new computer.

    Note: what about users with old computers?

    Counternote: That’s like asking why you can’t play wii baseball on your old Nintendo 64… it’s a new generation of software for a new generation of computers.

    Note: it was a guided demonstration which can make anything look good.

    Counternote: Without the guided demonstration people may never notice a lot of the cool little features available.

    Note: These are average users who won't notice the problems with drivers etc.

    counternote: Vista is made to appeal to the average person, not a computer geek… thats what linux is for.

    Kole McRae – Style, Wit and Results – Kole is a writer who sees the world a bit differently.