Microsoft is now acknowledging it screwed up with its initial launch of Windows Vista, and is ready to try again.
"We broke a lot of things. We know that, and we know it caused you a lot of pain. It got customers thinking, hey, is Windows Vista a generation we want to get invested in?" So Brad Brooks, Microsoft's VP of Windows Vista consumer marketing, fessed up publicly this week.
Speaking at a keynote address at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Brooks signified that Microsoft was ready to admit mistakes and reposition itself to tell a better story about Windows Vista, to counter attacks by rival Apple and let customers know that Vista is finally stable and ready.
"You thought the sleeping giant was still sleeping, well we woke it up and it's time to take our message forward," Brooks said. "We've faced these challenges before, and we're going to solve them again. There's a conversation going on in the marketplace today and it's just plain awful. We've got to get back on the front foot."
He pointed to selected negative quotes from Windows XP's first year as evidence that operating system launches can often be rocky.
In the coming weeks and months, Microsoft will launch a huge advertising campaign that's been reported to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Microsoft advertised Vista to small businesses in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today the last two weeks, and plans a much larger wave of ads under the tagline "Free the People." Brooks gave a taste of what's coming with a few swipes at Apple and some selected highlights of Windows Vista's features.
"We've got a pretty noisy competitor out there," Brooks said of Apple whose "I'm a Mac... and I'm a PC," commercials criticize Windows Vista. "You know it. I know it. It's caused some impact. We're going to start countering it. They tell us it's the iWay or the highway. We think that's a sad message. Software out there is made to be compatible with your whole life."