Unless this is the first post you've read here you'll know that I like Windows Vista, not because I work for Microsoft but on it's own merits. (I'm sure I've said before I work for Microsoft because I like the products and the thinking behind them , not the other way round).
You'll also know that I'm convinced that a lot (not all, but a lot) of negative perception about Vista is down to ignorance, and problems of a bad press.
Someone had a bright idea. Lets take people who don't know Vista and ask them about their view of it. Then lets show them Vista and see what they think; but lets not tell them it is Vista. Lets tell them they're looking at a future Microsoft OS codenamed .... Mojave.
You can see the results of this experiment here http://www.mojaveexperiment.com/
CNET had a teaser about this story last week , but the website has only gone live in the last few hours. IT Wire has the story, so does Daily Tech.
This reminds me a little of those movie trailers that have to feature 'real auditorium footage' of the audience jumping out of their seats in an attempt to prove to us just how scary the scary bits are... the Mojave Witch Experiment!
I agree that much of vista's woes is about ignorance.
But I have call into question your comment about "a bad press"
MS and press relations is now at an all time low. Press center? Gone. James Blamey? He moved himself internally into Redmond's euro cellphone chap.
Briefings? Err when? Used to be several times a month, and thats when you had a fraction of the products you have today. Try getting to a conference -- i'm having to pay my way now to all of these including hotels, although I can sometimes get a press pass.
Ask a member of press who are the current product managers at TVP. We dont know. Not a clue. Worse still, MS doesnt seem to give a damn either.
When was my last MS briefing? Answer -- that one you and I were at in London -- six months ago?
Which is fine, ultimately, but then dont start talking about "problems of a bad press". Just how much harder do you want to make this???
Sad to say but the link works ad well as Vista: It doesn't.
"You can see the results of this experiment"
I can only see a bottle filling and a number going to hundred.
Vista doesn't work at all at my workplace. The company made a mistake by changing to Vista.
> I like Windows Vista, not because I work for Microsoft but on it's own merits. (I'm sure I've said before I work for Microsoft because I like the products and the thinking behind them, not the other way round).
Your statement is a bit like saying "When I need fruit, I prefer limes, not because I work for Big Citrus, but on their own merits, they're delicious, and they're the greenest fruit choice!", when you've never tasted strawberries, grapes, or bananas (and the only other fruit you have tried is lemon).
You're a Microsoft evangelist, before that you worked elsewhere in Microsoft, before that you were worked for a company that was a Microsoft shop, and before that a PC manufacturer. None of those things are bad, but it's a mistake for anyone to believe that you're close to objective about the relative merits of the products Microsoft competes against.
For example, you recently told us that hooking Vista up to a projector is easier than hooking up XP. To you, it's a merit. But from your description, it is still a much worse experience than hooking up a Mac. For more than a decade, the usual procedure for hooking up a Mac to a projector is 1. Plug in Projector, 2. There is no step 2. I watch in bafflement at conferences as other people struggle to connect to a projector that I successfully projected on with no effort required on my part.
Likewise, if you've never used iChat to video conference, you might think that Vista enhances the experience, but if you're used to iChat, you'll just expect something that's effortless, comes with the machine, can chat to people running earlier OS releases, isn't popping up ads at you all the time, and generally doesn't tarnish your soul.
I don't claim to be objective, because if I were a regular Windows user, I'm sure I'd notice some things about Macs or Linux machines that they did worse than Windows does. (Who knows, perhaps I'd love tweaking esoteric settings on my video card and be disappointed that those knobs and dials are missing on the Mac?)
But, even if my views are skewed by familiarity, at least I have some sense of the relative merits of different platforms, because I have Windows XP, and Ubuntu and Fedora Linux all happily running in VMs on my Mac, and I use them all fairly regularly. (I have OpenStep too, but that's mostly for nostalgia).
My impression is that you don't use any of Vista's competitors in any serious way, so when you say you prefer it "on it's merits", what you mean is its merits compared to XP (and what you've heard from within the echo chamber of Microsoft loyalists), rather than anything more general. (And even there, you've lived with Vista for a long time, so it's probably hard for you to relate completely to the experience of a switcher from XP to Vista today. When you switched, it was to a beta of Vista where you had lower performance, stability, and third-party-support expectations going in.)
As an evangelist, it may be good for you to not understand the competition beyond talking points that paint them in a bad light and Microsoft's product in a good one. For example, ignorance can allow you to inaccurately describe something as an innovation without knowingly lying. But within Microsoft as a whole, insularity, groupthink, and a dogged insistence that "the squawking from users doesn't mean we're not making good products -- our products are great! -- the problem is just one of perception, and so the solution is user education" strikes me as a dangerously myopic strategy.
One good way to view complaints and criticism is not to see it negatively, but to embrace it and accept it (e.g., use active listening to really make sure you understand, rather than trying to argue against the criticism, or resorting to some form of character assassination that lets you discount whatever they say). When someone gives you feedback, it means that the person still thinks you're worth the time and energy it takes to do so. With a little reflection, you'll usually find that they are trying to *help you*, not hurt you. (When they stop giving you that feedback, it means that they've given up on you.)
@Jon. I had no idea it was **that** bad. I guess we have ourselves to blame.
@Annoyed person. I can't comment on what went wrong for you at work. As for the flash not playing properly, well I blame the agency we used for this project.
@Melissa, that whole rant is based on the premise that was a comparison with the Linux, Apple or anything other than another version of Windows. The plain and simple fact is that the majority of Apps I want to run simply aren't available for Linux. No point even evaluating it. They are available on Mac, but when Dell keeps trying to sell Laptops for £169, and I look at the colleague who bought a Mac book air for £1199 I'm just not prepared to pay a £1000 Steve-Jobs tax.
So arguing that for most people Windows is the logical choice is like arguing the world is round or that night is dark.
So Vista's number one competitor is XP. Every new release of a Microsoft product.
Vista vs XP. Better security (60% fewer vulnerabilities, and produced in an age where security matters and isn't bolted on latter), better productivity, better manageability / deployment.
Oh and you can take both the psychoanalysis andthat "tarnish your soul" crap somewhere else. I don't care if I engage with you here or not and I'll have to read before approving. Your next essay with that kind of thing won't get approved.
No offense intended. Really.
I'm not sure what the "psychoanalysis" (*) part you're referring to was. The "listen to complaints" bit? (Feel free to respond off-line if you don't want to go into it here.) Probably it did sound a bit patronizing and heavy on the platitudes, but it was well-meaning. It came from the context where it seems to me that various folks at Microsoft don't seem to "get" some of the criticisms of Vista. Even with the Mojave experiment, I think that its a mistake to write off criticism of Vista on the basis that users are ignorant and the press is biased.
Moving on, you also say that when I read "I like Windows Vista [...] on it's own merits" as a broad statement, that was a misunderstanding -- you meant it more narrowly in reference to its merits compared to XP. Okay, now I know what you meant, and so does everyone else.
And yes, I agree that the "tarnish your soul" phrase was an unfortunate choice. I wasn't mean spirited though -- I was trying to express a legitimate sentiment about user experience. For context, it was in reference to our joint experience trying to install something that would enable us to video chat. I found that to be was a really horrible experience. We tried various things in our attempts to get a working video chat session between two machines running Windows, and our experience of most of the "free" programs was horrible because most of the ones we tried (before you gave up in frustration) came with various kinds of ads and extraneous crapware. Windows Live Messenger was especially unpleasant. As I recall, you installed the software on a sacrificial machine, and I used a snapshot facility because this software wasn't something we felt comfortable to leaving installed on a machine. That ought to tell you something.
> I'm just not prepared to pay a £1000 Steve-Jobs tax.
The idea that Macs are overpriced compared to comparable machines is a tired claim that has been disproved over and over, and the idea of a £1000 premium is ridiculous. But even if there were a significant premium, and even if it were as extreme as £1000, even that amount would only be 91 pence a day over the three-year life of the laptop. If I had to pay an extra £1000, I might not be happy about it, but a better designed machine that I'm more productive with is worth at least a pound a day to me.
Yes, you can buy cheap machines. You can buy cheap cars, TVs, shoes, etc. too. I don't buy the cheapest of those either, nor the most fashionable.
> The plain and simple fact is that the majority of Apps I want to run simply aren't available for Linux.
Virtualization is a game changer here though. Right now, almost anything that only runs on Windows I can seamlessly run on my Mac. Since you care about virtualization, you should check out some of the videos and features of VMware Fusion at <">http://communities.vmware.com/community/beta/fusion>.
Virtualization also exists on Linux, although it may not be as seamless.
Once again, I'm sorry that my comment offended you. If you don't want me commenting on your blog, just ask me and I'll stop (although I'll also feel like I screwed up pretty badly somehow). If you can be specific as to what topics I should avoid, tell me (off-line perhaps) and I'll do my best to avoid them (modulo forgetting, passion, haste, etc.). At my end, I'm not ranting, and it pains me to know that that's how I come across. I might be misunderstanding things, but there's no malice here (what the heck would be the point in that?). At worst I'm tiresomely pedantic -- when you say something that strikes me as too broad a generalization, or not entirely true, I'll try to call you on it, nicely. Some of the time, I'll be wrong (and I hope I'll recognize that), either because I'm not as well informed as I think I am, or I misunderstood what you were saying, but some of the time, I'll be right, and when I am, it isn't me that "wins", it's you.
(*) [Psychoanalysis] If I were prone to taking offense, I'd be offended at your calling me a Freudian there. Eww. ;-)
I find the suggestion that Vista's woes are due to bad press wide of the mark. And frankly quite insulting.
As Jon says, MS UK seemed to have stopped press briefings etc. I've not had anything press wise since earlier this year (A Virtulisation briefing that you attended). So what happened when HyperV launched? Nothing - as Windows Editor for ESM, I read about it on the web. I've had nothing regarding SQL Server 2008, Windows 7, or any future plans.
The only thing left to report is today's reality - and that is that Vista is not being adopted as well a some might like it.
If you want better press, then get a better press strategy - this one is not working well.
James, I think I should point out that your message of the £1000 difference between a £169 Dell laptop and a £1199 Macbook Air (or ‘Steve-Jobs tax”) as you call it is thoroughly misleading and easily proved as such.
As a starting point, the Dell £169 laptop doesn’t include VAT and shipping but the £1199 Macbook Air price you quoted includes both. I’ve just had a quick look on the Dell UK site this morning and the cheapest laptop I can buy from Dell is £293.82 (the Vostro 1000 for £199 plus delivery at £51.06 and VAT at £43.76). Since we are looking at the cheapest Dell laptop, to make this comparison fair we should really look at Apple’s cheapest Mac laptop, the Macbook rather than the Macbook Air (using your logic, I assume we would shrink to personalising it and calling the £1200 difference between a Dell XPS M1730 and Apple Macbook ‘Michael Dell’ or perhaps even ‘Bill Gates’ tax). So, I can get a Macbook today from Apple for £699 including VAT and shipping. Already your headline ‘Steve-Jobs tax’ has more than halved from £1000 to £405. I don’t really want to get down to comparing specs like hard drive capacity other than to say the Dell is shipped with Vista Home Basic which by Microsoft’s own admission is not the ‘best choice for laptops’ and is their least featured edition of the Vista operating system. The Macbook ships with the Mac OS X v10.5.1 which is Apple’s fully featured ‘version’ of their operating system. To upgrade the Dell to Vista Ultimate would take the laptop total £363.08 including VAT and shipping. This makes the ‘Steve-Jobs tax’ more like £335.92, one third of your £1000!
So, we can see that there is undoubtedly a price premium to be paid when buying the cheapest Apple laptop over the cheapest Dell but the £1000 you quoted amounts to nothing more than misleading FUD.
As a parting suggestion, based on some research out there claiming that 53% of Leopard users are ‘very satisfied with their operating system’ over 8% of Vista users, perhaps we should refer to the price premium (your so called ‘Steve-Jobs’ tax) as ‘customer satisfaction’ tax?!
Here's an idea Melissa. If you don't like Vista then don't use it and don't waste your time writing about how you don't like it!
The Windows ‘Mojave’ experiment was a clever marketing idea but makes a good point. If people can see the quality of the product and ignore the rumour mill then they will like it!
Personally I am a huge fan of Vista/2008 over XP/2003. I have been using it in full production now since SP1 became avaliable (the slow file operations pre-SP1 was a sticking point for me).
I would like to see some improvements to the RSAT and WDS features but expect these will come over time as they have done with pervious versions of Windows.
Wil Shipley has a pretty good commentary on why the Mojave Experiment is bad science <http://wilshipley.com/blog/2008/07/mojave-experiment-bad-science-bad.html>. Like the Pepsi challenge, that's not to say it's not good marketing.
@JPO: You say "Here's an idea Melissa. If you don't like Vista then don't use it and don't waste your time writing about how you don't like it!".
I'm tempted to just reply by pointing out that a corollary of your viewpoint would appear to be "Here's an idea JPO. If you don't like my comments then don't read them and don't waste your time writing about how you don't like them!". Presumably you'd agree with that? But since I'm not you and don't seem to share your viewpoint, I'll "waste my time" with a more detailed reply to your points (as Bertrand Russell, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.")
Besides the above issue, I'm a bit confused by something else you said. I don't recall saying I didn't like Vista anywhere in the material I wrote, nor have I said whether or not I use it. You should consider it quite possible that I would prefer Vista over XP. From my message, you might surmise that if I did run it, there'd be a good chance I'd be running it under virtualization, so, positive or negative, my experience could easily be atypical. (At one point, Microsoft wouldn't even allow me to run some configurations of Vista on my chosen (virtual) hardware, which is certainly atypical.)
To be clear, my key points were:
- James's statement about perfering Vista on its merits (and his liking for the thinking behind Microsoft products in general) should be viewed in proper context. And that, when you do so, it becomes a fairly narrow statement rather the broad one it might have appeared to be. (It seemed broad to *me*.)
- Telling your customers that they are ignorant may not be a great strategy, even if (possibly especially if) they are.
- The Mojave experiment is pure marketing, and should be viewed as such. (If it is good marketing, it'll help to change perceptions of Vista, and even correct some misconceptions.)
None of the things I'm saying strike me as crazy "out there" things, and any apparent vitriol was an unintentional distraction. This ABC News story says some similar things http://abcnews.go.com/Business/IndustryInfo/Story?id=5489335 , and this one from eWeek http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/marketing/why_the_mojave_experiment_fails.html makes similarly related points.
Incidentally, the sentiment about listening to your critics came at least in part from this ZDnet article http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=9370 entitled "Tough love: Linux needs more haters" (but is also probably informed by _Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts_ by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson). The original article applied to Linux, but it applies as well OS X or Vista.
Melissa, do you not see a flaw in the argument that say "hey it's great having a Mac because I can run Windows apps". So you licence Windows, over and above the higher cost of hardware, rather than buying a Windows PC in the first place ...
Nick. You missed a zero. Vista users are running at about 80% satisfaction.
Thomas. I think vista gets a bad press. Jon's pointed out why that is our fault.
Sorry, no, I don't see the flaw at all. For one thing, "buying a Windows PC in the first place" doesn't give you OS X.
I like the fact that I can run Windows, but to be honest I have it more because I can, than because I need it. The fact that I *can* run practically anything that runs under Windows doesn't mean that I find myself needing to do so on a regular basis. There are a few use cases, such as testing websites under Internet Explorer, but frankly they're pretty rare. But mostly I just boot Windows every so often to apply updates and then shut it down. (FWIW, it's a similar story for Ubuntu Linux.) For me, the real "cost" is not price of a Windows License (which amounts to zero in my case), but the 4GB of diskspace it takes on my 160GB disk. Other people will have a different story, and might make different choices.
For people switching from Windows to the Mac, relatively seamless virtualization makes life much easier. If you have some enterprise software that is Windows only, that used to be a problem, but now you can just have a virtual machine running Windows, and that VM will be able to see your Mac filesystem, you'll be able to copy and paste between the two, and the application window from your Windows app will commingle happily with your other windows (except for the drastically different chrome). In a lot of ways, it's like Apple's "Classic" environment that supported the transition from OS 9 to OS X (see John Gruber's 2006 post http://daringfireball.net/2006/04/windows_the_new_classic ).
But some people do buy Macs just to run Windows (and some of those people work at Microsoft), because the machines are nicely designed and work well. At one point, the MacBook Pro was the fastest laptop for running Vista, something Apple made a lot of hay on in one of their ad campaigns after PC World recommended it. As I said in my last comment, price isn't everything -- if it costs a little more, the fact that you don't get any extraneous shovelware and you do get a proper Windows install disk might make it worth the extra money for some people.
Anyway, my point here was not that everyone should run out and buy a Mac. My point was more that people who only know Windows have certain kinds of myopia. For example, in another recent posting, you said, "Every [new operating system release] does more, but demands more hardware to do it. Fact of life", and I was struck by the fact that it may be a fact of life in the Windows world, but it isn't elsewhere. For some operating systems, the user community expects new OS releases to run faster on the same hardware, and usually gets their wish. This, what sounded like a general statement was actually Windows specific, since what you were really saying was, "Every release of Windows does more, but demands more hardware to do it. Fact of life".
I'm sure I have my own myopia, but at least I do use other things besides OS X enough to be fairly familiar with them, and I'm mostly aware enough of the things I don't know not to make potentially inaccurate sweeping generalizations.
its not just vista, james -- how much serious coverage has server 2008 had? sql 2008? Heck, you didnt even have an Exchange Server product manager for the 4 or so months before the release of ES2007.
MS doesnt seem to appreciate how much work, effort, time and cost needs to be invested in covering the ms portfolio. Its fine for the likes of me or Thomas -- I have spare high-end kit. Just how many writers have a spare datacenter to fiddle with? Almost none.
Take ES2007 -- there were no press briefings. No hands on. No get up to speed with the US product managers. No redmond reviewers workshop. No product manager to talk to.
Now the reality is that the vast majority of my corp clients are actually quite happy with ES2003 still, thanks, and are more interested in getting management tools in place rather than an upgradeto ES2007 which, in their eyes, will deliver email just the same as ES2003 -- sure there are many advantages to ES2007, but who has explained them to these customers? Who has demonstrated real wan log shipping and voip integration to the press?
Even my main ES server is still on 2003 -- if it aint broke, dont fix it. Sure, I'll get around to 2007 at some point on my server when I get some time, but it isnt a priority.
Me, running the old version, when we are already at SP1 of the new release? If this isnt ringing alarm bells, nothing will.