Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment

MeIn the category of winning hearts and minds Microsoft has released some video of, and information about, its Mojave Experiment, an effort on its part to try and change perceptions about Windows Vista. While saying up front that this isn’t part of the big and expensive marketing effort they are planning, they do provide some info into the focus group testing the videos represent. Intriguingly they told those in the focus group that this was a new OS called Mojave and then later revealed it was Vista. The following is from the Windows Vista News Blog:

For those new to the Mojave Experiment, it’s a focus group effort we initiated a few weeks ago. We interviewed and polled 120 participants in San Francisco, in hopes of better understanding everyday users’ perceptions of Windows Vista and seeing whether there really is a gap between perception and reality. We wanted to see how people reacted to Windows Vista when they were not aware they were seeing Windows Vista. We recorded our discussions, and today you can see them for yourself.


Some other facts about the research: 

  • The focus group took place over three days in San Francisco and was conducted earlier this month.
  • All participants were either Mac, Linux, or users of versions of Windows that came before Windows Vista. Respondents were chosen from the focus group organizer’s database, called at random, but then selected based on having a low perception of Vista (<5 rating on a scale of 1-10).
  • The participants were given a demo by a trained retail salesperson – geared towards the experiences they seemed most interested in following a series of interviews. While the retail salesperson drove the demo, it was geared by the interests and direction of the participant.
  • We did not use some geeked out or custom built PC. We used an HP Pavilion DV2500. It had 2GB of RAM and was running an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T7500 @ 2.20GHz. The OS was a 32 bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate.
  • Of the 120 respondents polled, on a scale of 1:10 where 10 was the highest rating, the average pre-rating for Windows Vista was 4.4. After they saw the demo, respondents rated Mojave an average of 8.5.

All well and good as far as it goes. But here’s a point to consider. Windows Vista looked great when it first began making the rounds. In my own usage, new machines with Vista freshly installed also worked well. It wasn’t until after using Vista for awhile that I started running into some of what I consider ““chronic” issues with the OS such as sleep and returning from sleep, hard disk thrashing, less than desirable experiences on mobile devices and supposed ““Vista Capable” devices, etc I have to say, most of these issues still continue with SP1 installed.

I’m sure the continued efforts on Microsoft’s part will find some way to address these issues, at least I hope they do. First impressions are indeed important and can make or break a new release, especially of something has complex as an OS. But long term success, more often than not, is determined by how well things work over time, or, are corrected over time.


If you ask me, the tech industry is starting to look suspiciously more and more like the movie industry these days. Aim for a hype fueled big launch, work for great early publicity, and hope the cracks don’t show until after a big early push in sales. Of course, Microsoft isn’t the only one guilty of this. Why do you think Apple releases iPhones on a Friday?