The Empire Strikes Back - The Mojave Experiment

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Vista, Mojave and the Edsel

Microsoft’s Vista has certainly been controversial with users – with the bad press that it’s been getting and lukewarm business sales, Microsoft has been talking it up almost non-stop. The latest salvo from Microsoft is called The Mojave Experiment.

This is a classic marketing technique – if it looks familiar, it may be because you saw one incarnation as the “The Pepsi Challenge” some time ago. I’m not going to get into whether this technique yields valid results or not – accept the bounds of an experiment and the results can be called valid within those bounds.

What I find interesting and telling in all this is that everything you’ve heard about Vista’s lukewarm reception is based on the only audience that counts – the user. Ultimately someone has to plunk down money to buy a product and thankfully we consumers still vote with our dollars. The history of failed products is characterized by companies who failed to effectively consider the user.

Microsoft’s dominant (in Europe, monopoly) position in the OS market is a powerful narcotic; couple this with a massive technical development organization geared to produce “more and better” with very deep pockets and it’s not hard to foresee why Vista is what it is – a bridge too far for many users. Similar to Intel’s Prescott, Microsoft assumed whatever it put on your plate you would eat, regardless of the “hidden” costs. With Vista, Microsoft assumed (or ignored) that users would willingly upgrade their systems to enjoy Vista’s memory and CPU intensive features, even though it would cost money to upgrade their PCs.

While we do have OS options (eg Mac, Linux), in fact it is a “Windows world” whether we like it or not. However, we do have the option to upgrade or not, and I for one will hold onto XP for as long as it’s viable. Microsoft’s Borg attitude (We are Microsoft, you will use Vista, resistance is futile) raises my hackles and in the long term may be a key enabler for the Mac/Linux worlds.

I’m not a Microsoft basher – I just think that Vista is an OS I don’t need or want yet and I really hope that Microsoft will listen to users who are not moved to spend money to upgrade to an eye-candy OS when what we have is OK as is. It also might be that considering how PCs are used and the current state of software apps, an XP/Mac/Linux type OS is plenty good.

Back in the dark ages, Detroit fell in love with fins and chrome; taken to its extreme, Ford developed the ultimate – the Edsel. Vista=Edsel? Intriguing thought.

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