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It's Instant Vista?! I Thought it Was Another Brewed OS

Microsoft's latest attempt to rehabilitate its much maligned operating system, Vista, comes in the form of a "blind taste test" in which viewers are shocked that the operating system they think is the wonderful "Mojave" is actually the (now wonderful) Vista. The problem is the test is "blind" in too many ways.
Microsoft's latest attempt to rehabilitate its much maligned operating system, Vista, comes in the form of a "blind taste test" in which viewers are shocked that the operating system they think is the wonderful "Mojave" is actually the (now wonderful) Vista. The problem is the test is "blind" in too many ways.The tests are called The Mojave Experiment and are reminiscent of those old Folger's coffee commercials when restaurant patrons are shocked that their "brewed" coffee is actually Folger's instant. But this time the patrons are regular folks who have preconceived notions of Vista (bad, bad, bad) and are asked to try out a "new" operating system, Mojave. Each user is then stunned to discover that the operating system they are using is actually Vista.

But the experiment itself has some issues (as most likely did the Folger's coffee commercials but there were no bloggers then).

NerdBeach writes: "While it no doubt has found some users that may see Vista in a new light, the experiment does not take into account the biggest issues with Vista, and bloggers are taking note of this." He continues: "A big issue with Vista involves setting it up and installing drivers and applications. The Mojave Experiment, with its pre-setup and fully tuned demonstration, showed none of this to the test subject."

He quotes Adam DuVander of Webmonkey who notes that there on the Mojave Experiement there are "no videos of connecting new devices, attempting to get on a Wi-Fi network, or tunneling into works V.P.N ."

Blogger Colin Campbell on Maclean's titles his post, Microsoft Thinks You're Stupid. He notes the Mojave Experient ends with this line: "Now decide for yourself." He continues: "Ok then We've decided it's a horribly misguided gimmick in which Microsoft seems to be shifting blame for its bad PR problems over to their customers. The message: youre stupid for not liking Vista and for trusting the reviews. Really, the only thing to take away from this campaign is that the Vista name is mud and Microsoft needs to change it, fast. When you start attacking and insulting your own customers, its a sign of desperation."

The New York Times' Dan Mitchell sums up the complaints many viewers have with this latter attempt: "Nevertheless, many bloggers had problems with how the Mojave Experiment was conducted. The main complaint was: is 10 minutes of watching an expert demonstrate Vista a valid basis on which to assess it? One problem with the videos is that many of Vistas glitches have involved setting it up and installing drivers and applications. But in the Mojave Experiment, the software was preloaded, so that aspect of Vista was not tested at all."

Microsoft had two choices in how to deal with the bad press Vista has received: One is to try to respond to the myriad of complaints about the operating system; the other is to launch a PR campaign. It chose the latter. Mitchell quotes Bob Garfield, a columnist for Advertising Age magazine and host of "On the Media" on NPR, who notes that like the Folgers campaign. The Mojave Experiment is "a clever test that demonstrates nothing."

The article continues: "If a product has a bad reputation, it is not because of faulty perceptions, Mr. Garfield said. It is because of a faulty product. Vista, halfway through its planned three-year life cycle, has drawn more scorn than most major software products do. People have found it hard to set up. Users have complained that it saps memory and that installing drivers or applications is too difficult."

Maybe that's why the Mojave Experiment users were shocked: They couldn't believe anyone could get Vista to work.