Microsoft tries taste-test with Vista doubters

Vista taste test From WinInfo Daily News 30/07/08:

Not surprisingly, Microsoft's recent "blind taste test" of Windows Vista has yielded the kind of PR bonanza that Microsoft couldn't beg, borrow, or steal just a few weeks ago. This week, the company released a slew of videos showing some of the 140 consumers videotaped in San Francisco using Vista for the first time. But the users weren't told they were using Vista, as they were selected specifically because they believed that Vista wasn't any good. Instead, these people believed they were using a future Windows version, code-named Windows "Mojave."

The comments made by these individuals are emblematic of the problems Microsoft now faces when it tries to market Vista to a world that, apparently, has already made up its mind about the OS. "I heard negative things; I never tried it myself," one woman says.
"I wouldn't touch the thing." "It's horrible, it has so many problems." "I've heard nothing but bad things about Vista, really." On and on it goes. On a scale from 1 to 10, the average pre-rating for Vista was 4.4, Microsoft says.

Then, the users were shown "Mohave" and walked through (Vista) features like backup and restore, parental controls, recording TV, and making DVD movies. The comments changed dramatically. "Wow!" "I like that security feature." (Breathlessly) "That's great." "It's awesome." "Really cool." "It's really impressive." "It's totally different from what I heard it would be like." "It's an awesome program, but you have to see it for yourself." The average rating after the hands-on demonstration was 8.5. "Many would have rated it higher, but they wanted more time to play with it themselves," Microsoft notes.

Most tellingly, perhaps, not one of the 140 participants rated Vista lower than their initial pre-rating after having actually used the OS. And 94 percent of respondents rated Vista more highly.

Microsoft should have done something like this say, 6 months ago, at least. Vista has suffered an inordinate amount of bad press based on staggering misperceptions, vacuous sniping and groundless complaints – almost all originating from the extreme anti-Microsoft sect. The notorious ‘switcher’ ads ran by Apple have gone a good way in fanning those flames, further unfairly tainting people’s impressions of Vista. The Apple fanatics lemmings who live cosily in their chamber of blissful ignorance and unjustified pomposity make up a good portion of that sect, of course. Don’t worry: you’re not alone - I hate them too!

But seriously, I don’t consider myself a Microsoft-lover and I recognise that Vista isn’t perfect. Still, the Vista-haters out there who go around touting their mindless misperceptions just kill me. Suffice to say that Vista-haters who carelessly strike up a conversation to try and indoctrinate me around to their way of thinking, invariably wish they never started.


  1. I personally don't hate Vista but I couldn't help but feel that this strategy was a bit dubious, with people who -really- hated something without being able to recognise it when they saw it, I'm currently thinking especially of the hard mouthed woman in the trailer who solemnly drew a big "0" the full size of the clipboard to describe Vista and then happily drew a big "10" the same size to describe Mojave.

    I personally suggest that it seems that the people in this focus group are not who you should go to for tech advice, quite frankly. They're probably valuable customers but they don't appear quite expert enough to base your own buying decisions on their ratings.

  2. I get what you’re saying there but I’m not attaching additional importance to the experiment like you seem to be. I’m not suggesting that they are suitable people to look to for tech advice, nor am I suggesting that that other people directly base their own buying decisions on the experiences that group had with ‘Mojave’.

    They were, however, a bunch of people whose own computer knowledge is average to low, have a certain amount of ignorance and naiveté about them and have had their own opinions coloured by the bad Vista press that’s been doing the rounds since its launch last January.

    As it stands, I run Vista, I like it and I’d recommend to virtually anybody. This experiment just confirmed to me that so much of the ‘Vista’s a dog’ perception is just jumble of lies, misperceptions and ignorance; once the slate had been wiped clean in their minds, the group REALLY LIKED the operating system there were using. End of.

  3. Yeah, I agree with that, the people were chosen for their opinion of Vista, not their IT background. Microsoft apparently do want people to reconsider their opinion based on these results though.

    My first reaction was actually surprise about how deeply ingrained their opinions of Vista were before they'd experienced it themselves. I agree with you, Vista is a good system and I've enjoyed using it. I admit I was concerned when I heard how different it was apparently going to be incase I had to support it but this turned out to not be the case and I've had no problems working in Vista the same way I always did with XP.

    I took more from it as a sociological statement of "faceless hate" against something they had heard bad news about rather than a technological statement on Vista. I suppose, to use an extreme example, if you changed the word "Vista" to "Black" you'd see the same sort of response that made people into lynch mobs. I was surprised that people have taken quite so much of an emotional investment into disliking Vista based on hearsay.

    I wonder if this might go on to be used in other situations where something has been negatively rated by the media and so I'm interested in the further implications of this style of group testing.

  4. Yeah, I definitely agree there: your phrase 'faceless hate' perfectly captures what so much of the Vista bashing out there amounts to. This was undoubtedly a publicity stunt and whatever the perceptions of this 'experiment' it worked: after 18/20 months since Vista launched, there's a whole new wave of discussion and focus on Vista. Let's hope MS don't let up on this one and push Vista in the way they should have done months and months ago.


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