Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment: Guided Ploy or Users have a serious problem with the name “Vista”?

Microsoft recently conducted ‘Mojave Experiment’, a focus group study where MS took 120 users (of Mac/Linux/Windows users who never used Vista) and showed them the ‘new’ operating system (code-named Mojave.).

The participants delivered an overall satisfaction rating of 8.5/10 (while Vista is 4/way 10) and were pleasantly surprised to hear that Mojave is actually Vista!

And Microsoft has jumped to the conclusion that Vista is all set to storm – that a PR campaign can improve the overall brand image.
And this is where I have a serious concern regarding such focus group studies.

But before I share my opinion, here are a few facts from the

research:

  • 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. [Vista blog]

Basic flaw in the entire research – the trained retail salesperson, which to me looks like a guided ploy (i.e.show perfect features that have a wowy appeal and put a cover on the sucky ones!)- a normal user will never ever use the system the way a trained retail salesguy would. Most of us need to install whole lot of softwares/drivers and Vista starts sucking bigtime then (Office 2k7 is 0 value add) – apart from the hole it burns in your pocket (for the extra hardware req).

Moreover, focus group studies (at a corporate level) are meant to be a tool to reinforce what you already believe in!

As one of the commenter point out:

I don’t think this really proves anything other that someone at MS can edit video.  If an OS needs an MS profession there to show you how to use it then I think something is wrong.
Don’t get me wrong.  I have always run MS OS’s and they have always been great products.  I was excited to run Vista when it came out and I have been using it for over a year now.  However, after more than a year on it I am looking at buying a Mac now.  I spend far too much time waiting for Vista, every click seems to have a period of waiting after it and I’m running it on a pretty powerful machine.
It’s a bit sad but I’m not loyal enough to MS to loose that much productivity

If Microsoft’s understanding is correct – what feedback do they want to take back from the experiment? That ‘Vista’ has a negative connotation attached?

Can a PR campaign (and not better design/engineering?) improve the product’s perception of inferiority? I really doubt that!

Are you on Vista? What”s your opinion?

Check out the Mojave Experiment site.

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