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Microsoft looks to 'Mojave' to revive Vista's image

I've gotten a lot of email about this article, and while I discussed it on the podcast this week (which you like haven't heard yet) and have a note about it in today's Short Takes (which isn't online yet), it bears mentioning because, well, I told you so:

After months of searching for ways to defend its oft-maligned Windows operating system, Microsoft may just have found its best weapon: Vista's skeptics.

Spurred by an e-mail from someone deep in the marketing ranks, Microsoft last week traveled to San Francisco, rounding up Windows XP users who had negative impressions of Vista. The subjects were put on video, asked about their Vista impressions, and then shown a "new" operating system, code-named Mojave. More than 90 percent gave positive feedback on what they saw. Then they were told that "Mojave" was actually Windows Vista.

Microsoft is still trying to figure out just how it will use the Mojave footage in its marketing, though it will clearly have a place.

In an interview Wednesday, Windows unit business chief Bill Veghte told CNET News that he wants to see his unit try new things to get the message across.

"We have a huge perception opportunity," he said, offering a glass half-full assessment of things. "We are going to try a bunch of stuff."

Much of that perception, Microsoft belatedly acknowledges, stems from Apple's successful and unchallenged anti-Vista campaign. But, after stewing over the ads on many of his morning runs, Veghte decided that it was time to strike back, even without a new version of Windows to tout. Apple, he said, has "crossed a line" from fact into fiction.

Exactly. I have no problem with Apple (or any other company) competing aggressively with Microsoft. But the Apple ads lapse into outright lying.

Bravo to this.

I'll add a related anecdote. While up in Sonoma a few weeks ago, I was finishing off something on my laptop and our friends came into the hotel room. One of them, looking at the laptop said, "that's beautiful. Is that Mac OS X?" (Qualifier: She is a graphic designer. What can you do?) I said, "no, that's Windows Vista." And she replied," Wow. It's really nice looking. I heard it was awful."

It's time to set the record straight.

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