Daniel Eran Dilger
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Microsoft’s Mojave Attempts to Wet Vista’s Desert

Daniel Eran Dilger
Nearly two years after Windows Vista was finally released, Microsoft has remained unable to shake off its reputation as being slow, incompatible with existing hardware and software, and generally a poor and overpriced product that nobody wants. Microsoft is now trying to reverse Vista’s bad reputation by insisting that the software’s problems are not technical but rather just the fault of ignorant customers duped in part by Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign. What’s Vista’s real problems, and will Microsoft’s “Mojave Experiment” help solve them?

Microsoft $300 Million Ads
Microsoft’s Mojave Attempts to Wet Vista’s Desert
Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment Exposes Serious Vista Problems
Paul Thurrott calls Apple “the Bad Guys” of Microsoft’s $300 Million Ads
Gates, Seinfeld and the $300 Million Ad to Nowhere
Microsoft’s $300 million ad campaign tumbles with new PC ads
Microsoft’s “Windows vs Walls” Ad Tries to Think Different, Fails
Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” Millions Actually Promoting the Mac
Blame Apple!
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has joined Windows Enthusiast pundits in theorizing that Vista’s image problems are primarily the result of Apple’s advertisements that regularly poke fun at the problems in Vista. The company has now taken aim at shooting at the messenger with a $300 million ad campaign.

In July, Brad Brooks, Microsoft’s VP of Windows Vista consumer marketing, addressed the company’s business partners at its Worldwide Partner Conference, saying, “We’ve got a pretty noisy competitor out there. 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.”

Another sad message Brooks had to deliver was that Vista’s problems aren’t really the fault of Apple. “We broke a lot of things,” Brooks admitted. “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?”

Vista: Pay it Forward!
Brooks also noted that “Windows Vista is an investment in the long term. When you make the investment into Windows Vista, it’s going to pay it forward into the operating system we call Windows 7.”

Pay it forward? Is Windows 7 going to be a free upgrade to Windows Vista users, in the same way Apple is expected to offer the next Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard release to existing users of 10.5 Leopard?

That’s highly unlikely, as Microsoft can’t sustain its egregious profits collected through the Windows monopoly by giving away updates for free. Windows Vista raised the price of Windows, putting a new definition on the phrase “pay it forward.”

 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 07 200807010321

Myths of Snow Leopard 7: Free?!
Microsoft Admits Windows Vista Mistakes, Criticizes Apple Ads – InformationWeek

Reality Impairment at Microsoft
Talking out one’s ass appears to be a job requirement for all Microsoft executives, starting at the top. A serious case of reality impairment has resulted in the paradox of the company both admitting that Vista is flawed and “broke a lot of things,” while at the same time maintaining that Vista’s reputation is entirely the fault of stupid customers and a comically unflattering portrayal by its competitor.

In the “Mojave Experiment,” Microsoft plans to dispel the notion that Windows Vista is problematic and incompatible by publishing a series of videotaped interviews with users who arrived with negative impressions of Vista and left excited about the new operating system. This was achieved by presenting the users with a demonstration of “Mojave,” a new operating system that Microsoft later revealed to be Vista, much to the surprise of the interviewed users who’d heard so many bad things about it.

However, the Mojave Experiment is so full of false information and saccharine gloss that it couldn’t possibly appeal to anyone smart enough to turn on a PC. Even setting aside the fact that the ad experiment basically seeks to blame users for being dumb, the attempt by Microsoft to paint over Vista’s problems is transparent and flawed, for a number of reasons.

What’s wrong with Mojave.
Microsoft can’t seem to decide whether it wants to admit that Vista has problems or not, and its waffling back and forth just makes the company look increasingly disingenuous. Is Vista a poorly launched, flawed product that the company is working to fix as quickly as possible, or is it awesome and wildly successful and just the victim of bad press? Microsoft tries to tell both stories at once, which is purely dishonest.

In contrast, Apple said from the start last year that its Apple TV product was a “hobby” attempting to break into a difficult market. Critics lambasted it for not immediately taking over the market like the iPod had or iPhone later did. Apple’s more recent problems in launching MobileMe were quickly noted by the company along with the intent to address complaints about it rapidly. Microsoft isn’t alone in being able to stumble, but its complete lack of candor makes it hard to understand if the company realizes that it even has problems to solve.

With Vista, Microsoft has issued a flurry of giddy press releases claiming widespread adoption based on the number of licenses sold and naming it “the fastest selling operating system in Microsoft history,” ignoring the fact that Windows sales are increasing simply because they are tied to PC sales. Microsoft has no competition in the PC operating system market due to its monopoly position, so it could release Windows Wet Toast and still sell it faster than XP and ME and 98 Special Edition and every other version of Windows in the past that was tied to an increasingly younger and smaller hardware market.

Vista Sales to Non-Users.
Many of Vista’s “sales” were free vouchers distributed with PCs sold in the holiday season prior to its launch. Even more than a year and a half later, PC makers continue to put Windows XP on their systems, even those sold with a Vista license, while corporate users almost always remove the default Vista to install an earlier version of Windows. There’s also a busy third party industry developing around removing Vista for consumers.

In late July APCMag cited Jane Bradburn, a manager for commercial notebook sales at HP, as saying, “From the 30th of June, we have no longer been able to ship a PC with a XP license. However, what we have been able to do with Microsoft is ship PCs with a Vista Business licence but with XP pre-loaded. That is still the majority of business computers we are selling today.”

The arrangement is supposed to end by January 2009, but HP is trying to extend the deadline because customers simply don’t want Vista installed. EWeek also noted that between April 2007 and May 2008, its survey of business users indicated that Vista climbed from 2% to 5%, but that Windows XP jumped from 74% to 83%, three times the adoption of Vista. That growth came from migration from older versions of Windows.

Even in its wildest projections, EWeek says Vista will only reach 28% adoption in businesses by the end of 2010. CNET reported that a Jully 2008 survey by systems management appliance company KASE found that 60% of companies surveyed have no plans to deploy Windows Vista, a ten percent increase in disinterest from late 2007. A full 42% were actively exploring Vista alternatives, and 11% had already made the switch to Mac OS X or Linux. Microsoft is simply lying about the level of Vista excitement, and it’s gotten too obvious for the company to continue to do so.

XP still killing Vista in sales volume: HP
60 percent skipping Vista, so Ballmer looks to Apple | The Open Road

The Truth Is… oh Look a Distraction!
At the same time, Microsoft notes on its Vista website “we know a few of you were disappointed by your early encounter. Printers didn’t work. Games felt sluggish. You told us—loudly at times—that the latest Windows wasn’t always living up to your high expectations for a Microsoft product.”

That’s some brutal honesty for a company with a knack for spinning wild fantasies about fictitious product enthusiasm for a product never actually put to use in many cases. At the same time however, in trying to refute away Vista’s real problems, Microsoft uses a variety of tactics that just return to blind fantasyland.

Microsoft is a Marketing Company, not a Tech Company.
The company plays its Mojave Experiment hand on a new website, incidentally designed using Adobe Flash rather than the company’s own Silverlight. Despite the site’s oddly designed, usability-impared interface, it’s still possible to pull out lots of details from the experiment that say as much about Microsoft’s crafty, misleading marketing as they do about its technical problems, underling the simple fact that Microsoft is first and foremost a marketing company that flogs third rate technology products.

Mojave took 140 people and asked them to score Windows Vista. The average response was 4.4. After demonstrating Vista SP2 under the name “Mojave,” respondents ranked Vista at 8.5, a stunning improvement. But what were they ranking?

Microsoft notes that “many said they would have rated it higher, but wanted more time to use it themselves.” That sounds good at first blush, but it really indicates that the responses were biased by hyped up enthusiasm rather than facts, and that participants realized it, reserving their final judgement until they could actually see more.

The “Mojave Experiment”

What does Mojave Prove?
Mojave tries to represent that Vista’s bad reputation is the fault of ignorant consumers who have heard bad things that aren’t true about Vista, and have made up their mind without getting the facts.

At the same time however, Microsoft also publicly admits that Vista “broke a lot of things” and that specifically, “Printers didn’t work. Games felt sluggish.” Did Mojave clear up mistaken notions for participants, or did it just erect smoke and mirrors in a carefully controlled demonstration that skirted around Vista’s real problems, including those Microsoft admits?

That’s a question that answers itself. Mojave didn’t send uses home with Vista in a Mojave package and then ask them how well it worked with their existing peripherals and games, or how fast it was in comparison to their existing PC software.

This is Not the Droid You’re Running Vista On.
Instead, Microsoft sat them down in front of a HP Pavillion DV 2000 with 2GB of RAM. That’s what HP called its “entertainment powerhouse” laptop, although HP only shipped it with 1GB RAM. Microsoft maxed out the RAM for the purposes of the test, making the laptop a bit more expensive than its usual street price of around $1050.

According to Windows enthusiast Joe Wilcox, PC laptops actually cost $700, “half as much” as Apple’s laptops. At least that’s the Average Selling Price for consumer retail PC laptops according to NPD’s Stephen Baker, compared to Apple’s $1500 ASP. Wilcox insisted that his spin on NPD’s figures couldn’t possibly be biased because he wrote his article on a MacBook Air running Leopard. However, his $2,700 laptop did help drive up Apple’s stellar ASP for its laptops well above the entry price for Mac Books, discounting his theory that revolved around the assumption that every Mac buyer pays the average price of all the laptops Apple sells.

Wilcox and Microsoft are both disingenuously dancing on both ends of the truth. Many consumers are actually buying cheap laptops at Target that can’t run Vista ideally, while Microsoft demonstrates its Vista on a considerably better equipped system in the Mojave Experiment to suggest that Vista doesn’t have the performance problems that users have heard about from the majority of their peers who bought cheap PCs and are seeing Vista run particularly sluggishly on them.

Should You Pay Twice as Much for a Mac? I Did!

You Get What You Pay For.
The fact that Apple sells more high end laptops to pro users at retail, and that it does not sell anything in the range of the cheap junk being hawked at big box retailers like Wilcox’ Target both result in Mac laptops fetching a higher ASP. That fact also means that Mac buyers will be happier with their purchase and have a more favorable impression of Mac OS X because they’re running it on a better system. That’s all obvious stuff.

However, selling people cheap laptops that don’t work well, and then demonstrating a fake “new operating system” that appears to work well when running on a faster machine full of RAM is simply a dishonest bait and switch scam.

Wilcox does nearly admit that PC makers are already stretching their credibility as they attempt to sell cheap boxes based on price alone, citing Baker as saying, “We aren’t seeing any particularly substantive moves down in price on the Windows side, either in desktops or notebooks.” PCs can’t get cheaper because they’re already unprofitable and consumers are already disgusted with their performance when running the increased overhead of Vista.

Wilcox also sets up a tilted comparison between a Dell PC desktop with integrated graphics and an iMac with dedicated graphics and claims a price advantage for Dell, although noting that, while “Dell offers more for less than the iMac,” “that ‘more’ also means Windows Vista, which won’t satisfy some shoppers.”

Why Aren’t Shoppers Satisfied with Vista?
Like Microsoft, Wilcox and his Windows Enthusiast pundit friends can’t seem to decide if Vista has any real problems or if it’s all just an unfair taint suggested by Apple’s Get a Mac ads.

However, while Apple has taken shots at Vista’s incompatibility with printers and other hardware and its scarce updates that have been few and far between over the last year and a half of its being on the market, Apple also notes in its Get a Mac ads that Macs can run Vista, and can run it faster than PCs. So Apple isn’t inventing and publishing false reports on Vista, it’s merely advertising its Mac hardware as superior to PCs.

The Vista flaws Apple’s ads have referenced are flaws Microsoft itself has admitted to its partners, so the Get a Mac umbrage frequently voiced by Windows Enthusiasts is both hypocritical and ridiculous. However, in the Mojave Experiment, Microsoft downplayed those well-known faults by only carefully demonstrating certain features on a high end machine, and without actually exposing Mojave/Vista users to ‘a lot of things Vista broke,’ ‘printers that didn’t work’, or ‘games that felt sluggish.’

It Can’t Even Print.
In response to complaints that Vista doesn’t work well with existing PC hardware, Microsoft’s Mojave website says that “the Windows Vista Compatibility Center lists compatibility status for over 9,000 products (5,500 devices and 3,500 software programs).” It even notes 2,000 printers, 200 scanners, and 500 cameras specifically.

That sounds good until you realize that Apple ships support for over 3,100 printers in Mac OS X Leopard, a product that is targeted primarily toward education and consumers and which is not expected by users to run on any old hardware that might be in use by PC users. Vista is supposed to run on 95% of the world’s PCs, and yet it doesn’t even match the printer drivers that ship with Leopard, a number which does not include all of the third party drivers available for the Mac.

Oh, but there’s more. Not only did Microsoft dance around the truth to feed its Mojave Experiment participants a carefully controlled stream of garbage, but it also inadvertently revealed more serious problems related to Vista, which I’ll consider in the following article.

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  • http://omnigame.se omnigame

    Good article. But I don’t believe for a second that Apple will give away Snow Leopard for free. Why would they do that?

  • got nate

    I saw my first mojave ad today, the look on the guys face when the chick said “actually, this is vista” was priceless. I wonder how microsoft thinks that showing people getting pissed off at them will help vista adoption.

  • ross

    omnigame, remember that “product transition that will reduce our revenue” comment from the CFO? Why does it have to be hardware as people suggest?

  • Jon T

    I don’t think -technically- they can give Snow Leopard away. Apple hasn’t attached the iPhone/AppleTV delayed revenue model on Leopard. As with iPod Touch you had to pay to receive the update that was free on the iPhone.

    Loved the article. My God but the Microsoft Taliban must really be upset by these articles…even more than they are by the Mac & PC adverts!

    Great work Dan.

  • lmasanti

    “We’re going to start countering it. They tell us it’s the iWay or the highway. We think that’s a sad message.”

    I always remember what was written in the walls of Paris in the May ’68’s student revolt:

    “Action must come from creation, not from reaction!”

  • http://murrquan.livejournal.com Murrquan

    omni, Jon T: I don’t think he’s saying they are going to give away Snow Leopard. He’s saying that other people have thought that they should, but at the same time he’s providing a link to an article that he wrote where he exposes “free Snow Leopard” as a myth.

    This article helps to confirm my suspicions about the “Mojave Experiment.” I look forward to the next installment!

  • qka

    I’m wondering how long it will be before we see “Male Mojave Convert #2” starring in a hit TV show or major Hollywood movie.

    In other words, how can we trust that these are real users and not unknown actors? We are all too familiar with actors playing “real customers” in ads.

    We don’t trust many ads because of this. I doubt the public reception to the Mojave ads will be any different.

  • Phildikian

    Welcome back Daniel!

    I am so glad to see your articles this week. As always you provide a healthy dose of truth to counter Microsoft’s paramours in the press. Excellent job!

    I always find it funny when people/press condescendingly accredit Apple’s success by powerful marketing – then they proceed to announce that they will throw more money than Apple on their own marketing campaigns (remember Creative and their porn star campaign?). No one ever stops to think that maybe they just don’t make appealing products.

    Anyhow, it will be fun to watch how this mojave experiment will burn up in a 300mega-dollar fireball.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    The most telling thing of all:

    Vista wasn’t compared to Leopard!

    The whole idea is obviously based on the Pepsi Challenge. Pepsi and Coke were served side by side in unmarked glasses. At least Pepsi dared to do that.

    Mojave is more like a Pepsi Challenge where soda is served and people’s reactions are recorded when they react “hey, I guess it doesn’t totally reek.”

    Oh, and John Sculley invented the Pepsi Challenge. Talk about a telling sign of the times!

  • beanie

    Daniel wrote:
    “Microsoft maxed out the RAM for the purposes of the test” refering to 2GB of RAM used.

    “cheap laptops at Target that can’t run Vista ideally”

    Myth. HP laptop computers listed on Target’s website have 3MB or 4MB. Checking Best Buy laptop RAM:

    System Memory RAM
    1GB (6)
    2GB (29)
    3GB (60)
    4GB (27)

    3GB RAM is the most common. If you did not notice, most manufacturers increased RAM when Vista SP1 was released.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    RAM is breathtakingly cheap right now.

    (Often blamed on the huge commitment to overproduction in the buildup to Vista’s release, in the false anticipation of a Windows 95 style buying boom.)

    Frustratingly, we’re also in the curious position of being closed to maxed out anyway. Two RAM slots make for a 4 gig physical limit, even with an OS like Leopard which can handle far more than that.

    Of course, the whole idea with Windows laptops at retail is in the pennies. Simply everything must go!! Anything less than 4GB in a computer which can take it today is a pointless endeavour given current RAM costs.

  • http://www.jphotog.com ewelch

    John Muir has a good point about Microsoft being afraid to compare Vista to OS X. I would think it’s more akin to the really stupid commercials from Coke where the Coke Classic people ask a lawyer if they can sue Coke One for “taste infringement.”

    Chiat/Day, Apple’s advertising partner, is very sophisticated. Microsoft doesn’t stand a chance of out-marketing Apple. They’re too cheap to pay for good ads.

  • benlewis

    Hey Daniel, just to clarify: Do you still maintain that SL will be a for-pay upgrade as you did in “Myths of Snow Leopard 7: Free?!”? There’s a line in this article where I can’t tell if you are saying it will be free or if you are characterizing the WE’s who are saying it will be free.

  • Shunnabunich

    I think Brooks’ comment that “they tell us it’s the iWay or the highway” is especially ironic, considering that Microsoft’s constant, pervasive message to consumers is “our way is the only way that exists”. If anything, Apple’s marketing prowess is dwarfed by Microsoft’s, which has convinced entire generations of people that Microsoft products and personal computers exist together in a perfect vacuum. At least Apple’s honest enough to point out that there is a highway, even if it’s more like a goat path.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @ Shunnabunich

    Very true!

    Before I switched to the Mac five years ago, I was scarcely aware there was an alternative outside of Windows. (Well, I actually tried Linux first but it was in a right old state in the old days.) Like so many people, I mistook a showroom full of laptops and the local hacker’s parlour full of bits for real choice. Yeah … would you like Windows 2000 or XP with that?

    I wouldn’t put it down to genius marketing by Microsoft though. Rather the Empire effect. More powerful than any ads MS can buy (and let’s face it: theirs are forever dull) is their court of cheerleaders and stooges. Hardware makers push Microsoft’s products along with their own, because they subcontracted innovation to Redmond long ago. The tech press even today still talk as though *you* are running Windows, and just a few years ago it took Herculean efforts (like the iMac) for Apple to get a mention at all.

    Microsoft aren’t just a company. They’re a way of life for so much of the tech industry. When someone else controls your operating system, you have no choice, let alone the poor customers you in turn shift your kit to. When Microsoft says jump, the industry answers back in regimented unison: HOW HIGH?

    Their collective slump on the way to ultimate oblivion is pleasing no end. Come on people, learn from Apple and Nintendo. You can save yourselves! :D

  • PerGrenerfors

    What bugs me the most about this debate is that it seems to revolve around one thing. Ever noticed how Windows Enthusiasts love to talk about the state of drivers for Vista and nothing else, as if it were the only problem.

    The way I see it, if Vista were a person it would be an asshole. It would be that guy at work you wish would get fired or quit sometime soon. It’s about how Vista presents itself to the user. XP has issues too but everyone knows it’s not being a jerk about it like Vista. It’s stuff like having to turn off the UAC so that you won’t get an ulcer that make people nuts. Not drivers. Nobody likes being treated as a 3-yearold instead of a grown up user.

    No driver update will ever solve the asshole issue. Never.

    And then there’s the ugliness. Vista looks like absolute shit. When XP came out I thought that the Fisher Price theme was as bad as it would ever get but I was wrong. Ever noticed the horrible sallad of different icon resolutions that look like pimples on the annoyingly shiny Vista Aero Glass? I’m amazed that the freetards still manage to produce a look that’s less attractive than Redmonds current offering.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @ PerGrenerfors

    A Windows using friend of mine (who supports small companies on it for a living) said to me the first time I saw him using Vista:

    “Yeah, it keeps asking you permission all the time. Just like Mac. I know how to turn it off though!”

    Ah … how he doesn’t get it.

  • JulesLt

    Firstly, Apple could give away Leopard (or the iPod Touch updates) if it chose to account for it as, say, marketing – as far as I understand the S-O accounting changes it simply means that they have to account for it somehow, not that the cost HAS to be passed onto the user.
    The question would be whether it would be worth it in terms of PR versus lost revenue from boxed sales.

    Marketing – historically MS have had very good marketing, understanding the need to bypass the IT department (who objected to Windows) and go straight to the management who control the budgets, selling them the idea of cheap desktops over expensive central computers.

    In turn this led to the IT old guard being replaced by cheaper MS qualified staff, who have then ended up reinventing the wheel (virtualization and rack servers and thin terminals are the new thing, which is back to the VAX model).

    More recently, a lot of their marketing has been focused on developers. It’s not just direct advertising on websites, but spending money actively courting and supporting a development community. It’s putting cash into keeping Direct X two steps ahead of Open G/L (and don’t forget that Direct X is more than just a graphics API).

    What both approaches have in common is that neither of them are about marketing to users, but marketing to decision makers.

    What they have never ‘got’ marketing is to consumers – Macs have always been more successful in environments where people choose their own tools – historically writers and small creative businesses, but since OS X increasingly popular, also with independent software developers – or at least those developing web based apps.

    Windows 95, of course, was the big exception – but that was perhaps less because of consumer marketing success than because people were crying out for Windows that works.

    >”they tell us it’s the iWay or the highway”
    Elsewhere I’ve compared Microsoft choice to being like Subway or Starbucks – sure you can customise it a million ways, but essentially it’s the same product.

    The interesting thing is, as with the Zune, seeing Microsoft cast themselves as being the underdog, just as Apple have finally realised the limit of that in terms of marketing.

    It’s also nice to see them back deciding that someone taking 1 in 30 sales needs to be rubbed out. A healthy market should really have no one above 50-60%, but of course MS share cap is based on them maintaining an unhealthy dominance.

  • John E

    OK, it’s a fun piece and i am on board with its thrust. but could i respectfully suggest editing the first sentence thesis statement so it is not so obviously overstated? as follows:

    “Nearly two years after Windows Vista was finally released, Microsoft has remained unable to shake off its EARLY reputation as being slow, incompatible with existing hardware and software, and generally a [poor] TOO DEMANDING (HARDWARE/SOFTWARE-WISE), OVERLY COMPLICATED (UI-WISE), and overpriced product that [nobody wants] MANY CONSUMERS AND MOST BUSINESSES HAVE DECLINED TO USE, CHOOSING TO CONTINUE INSTEAD WITH XP.”

    the problem with clearly overstating what might essentially be true is that RDM can then be dismissed as a fanboy site, and Dan’s really insightful analyses can be labeled rants. it is easy for an MS advocate to trash the first sentence as it was written. just my two cents (and yes, professionally, i edit a lot of stuff).

  • frankeee

    Hey Daniel,

    I so enjoy reading your blogs on an (almost sort of) daily basis, being an “Apple fanboy” as such, it’s not even funny anymore (my wife has been brainwashed as well by now) – macs, ipods and iphones everywhere i roam within our house!

    I (of course) like this latest article as well – but one thing I really have to say: do you (or anybody else out there) really believe that the Mojave dud is a real thing?

    The whole thing is so fake – I am still scratching the vomit of my computer screen after having been exposed to such a ridiculous marketing effort by Mega$ell – ahem my keyboard is screwed, I meant M$ – can someone please please please contact a consumer watchdog thing!

    Wasn’t there a dud just some 1 or 2 years ago where M$ presented some woman who was meant to have ‘switched back to windows’? And wasn’t she apparently some chick from stock xchange (or similar)?

    Well – here you go: done it again, if you ask me.

    The whole Mojave Project or whatever it’s called is an obvious hand over of cash to LA cab drivers and nurses in need for the buck!

    I remember there is a law for ‘false’ marketing and advertisement – however M$ seems exempt from this – probably because 80% of US governmental machines are running the M$ “Fensters” 95 … still.

    Eagerly awaiting your next blog, me friend,

  • marsviolet

    The thing about these kinds of Pepsi Challenges is that they’re faux science. In the end, despite the blind taste test revealing a superficial preference for added sweetness, people ultimately still prefer the more complex and deeply satisfying flavor of Coke.

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  • Silencio

    @ewelch: those Coke Zero ads were created by the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the same agency Microsoft recently committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars with to resuscitate their flagging brand appeal.

    As someone who has worked off-and-on in advertising and still follows it fairly closely, I have to say the work of CP+B is highly overrated. The Coke Zero campaign isn’t too bad (mildly funny, at least), but their vaunted Burger King campaign with the plastic King is dreadful: like they ripped off Jack In The Box without a shred of Jack’s wit.

    Even still, it doesn’t matter how creative or innovative an ad agency is if the client is a meddlesome screwup with an incohesive branding strategy and lousy products. Lipstick on a pig and all of that. This is still Microsoft’s problem. And Microsoft’s marketing execs are experts at undermining an ad agency’s better ideas.

  • eldernorm

    Joe Wilcox is either dumber than he seems or he is a Microsoft tool. He just cannot seem to ever like Apple stuff. OH yea, its ….. ok,….. I guess but never as good as microsoft xp or what ever.

    Now please understand that I am not a fanboy of Apple. But given the way Microsoft acts vs its customers, well…… Nuff said. :-)

  • anonymous500r

    3100 printers – but my Laserjet’s not one of them…

  • harrywolf

    After reading the article, I thought I had better go and see the ‘Mojave Experiment’.
    It sounded amusing, as all advertising attempts by M$oft tend to be.

    Well it wasnt funny, rather it was sinister.

    The name suggests something about UFO’s in the desert/skunk works/1950’s American isolationism/a new Buick kind of thing.

    The reactions of the actors playing the roles of people seemed idiotic – couldnt they find an actor who could play the role of a normal, intelligent computer user? I guess not.

    It cant help the losing Vista cause – its a negative advert.
    So why do this?

    M$oft need to change their ad agency, but the person who makes the decision about which ad agency to use has no taste or sense, so the choice will always be wrong.

    I have always believed that M$oft launches poor products that fail so that cash can be taken out of the company and paid to losing ventures which are actually ways for execs at M$oft to get tax-free cash out of the company, by circuitous routes.

    The ‘Mojave’ nonsense is another way to spend money quickly for no purpose.

    Some Forensic Accounting might reveal a lot we dont know about Gates, Ballmer, et al.

    Increasingly, M$oft looks like a disaster of monumental proportions waiting to happen…..

    As usual, great writing and analysis, Dan!

  • amyhre

    If I were an intelligent Windows user who made a conscious choice not to run Vista, I’d be insulted that Microsoft essentially thinks its users are only still using XP because “they don’t know any better”.

  • Tardis

    I’d like to congratulate the Mojave guinea pig, shown under “you can’t please everyone”, who was neither wowed nor intimidated by the Final Revelation:

    “Mojave really IS Windows Vista!”

    “Then why is it faster?”

  • The Mad Hatter

    Microsoft is a Marketing Company, not a Tech Company.

    Sorry Daniel, but you messed up big with that comment. Microsoft is not a marketing company. Microsoft has never been a marketing company. Microsoft is totally incompetent, and has always been totally incompetent at marketing.

    What Microsoft has traditionally done is by pass marketing by making deals with the hardware OEMS to install Windows on a computer whether you want it or not. No marketing is involved. The consumer doesn’t have a choice.

    Apple is a marketing company, and probably the best marketing company on the planet. They market directly to the end user, and have managed through both innovative ads, and well designed product to convince a lot of people that it’s worth buying Apple, even if you pay more (in some cases – in most cases the price difference really isn’t significant).

    The Microsoft marketing myth has existed for a long time. It’s totally wrong, and I have to admit to amazement that anyone is stupid enough to believe it.

    Yes. I’m being nasty. Prove me wrong.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @The Mad Hatter

    That all makes sense if you limit “marketing” to end users.

    But what IBM were masters at back in the day, and Microsoft now, is marketing above consumers heads. IBM had a network of salesmen who were the pride of the company, trained and practised at golf course dealmaking to corporate buyer’s top men. Microsoft meanwhile have that relationship with the OEM’s which make the computers the public are buying when eventually they get to make their choice.

    Microsoft have softened up and become bumbling and incompetent in many ways over the years. But if they really were an ivory tower who never spoke to, lunched with, and paid the hotel bills for a great many of the industry’s decision makers: they’d have driven themselves into irrelevance long ago.

    Microsoft have an empire and it is made of pure marketing.

    They don’t often bother marketing directly to the consumer because they really just don’t have to. Why bother when you control the consumer’s choices?

    When, however, they do: their lack of practice stands out and their ads stink. Shame they can’t do what they’re good at and invite every customer out for a few rounds, and maybe a trip to Fiji, all expenses of course.

  • The Mad Hatter

    @John Muir

    But what IBM were masters at back in the day, and Microsoft now, is marketing above consumers heads. IBM had a network of salesmen who were the pride of the company, trained and practised at golf course dealmaking to corporate buyer’s top men. Microsoft meanwhile have that relationship with the OEM’s which make the computers the public are buying when eventually they get to make their choice.

    That’s not marketing, that’s salesmanship. Most people mistake it for marketing, because they aren’t in sales and marketing, and therefore don’t know the difference.

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  • bobleguy

    I have the solution: New Microsoft ad campaign can be built around “Les Grossman”. So you have Les interact with typical PC users, idiots, of course, and he can start off being nice, then inform them that, “a nutless monkey can use this f-ing software…fill in expletive here…” Or, you could just use Ballmer and save yourself money of getting Cruise to do it. Same thing. Denial is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

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