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Microsoft's Mojave Experiment: Under 50% Impressed

Gordon Kelly


The Small Print Behind Microsoft's Mojave Experiment

It's amazing what a little digging will find out...

Have you heard of the 'Mojave Experiments'? They have been pretty hard to miss but for the uninitiated it is some viral advertising Microsoft is using to convince users that Vista isn't as bad as it sounds and on the surface the argument is pretty compelling.

In a nutshell, what the Redmond based giant did was take everyday people under its wing and submit them to a demonstration of Mojave (Vista in very basic disguise). The aim was to dispel the commonly held belief that Vista is a complete dog and when Mojave's true identity was revealed all participants were suitably impressed (apart from this guy who figured out the ruse). So Microsoft proved a point, right? Not really...

This is what Microsoft hits you with:

89 per cent of users expressed satisfaction with Mojave

83 per cent of users would recommend it to a friend or family member.

Here's the fact:

46 per cent of this first figure were only 'Somewhat Satisfied' with what they had seen

37 per cent rated themselves 'Somewhat Likely' to recommend Mojave

In short: 57 per cent were not very impressed with Mojave and only 46 per cent were very likely to recommend it.

Now consider this: the tests were carried out on an HP Pavillion DV 2000 multimedia laptop with 2GB RAM - a higher spec machine than your average consumer owns. Next, users were only shown demos. That's right, they were not allowed to interact with Mojave/Vista themselves.

Lastly - and as tech savvy readers I'm sure you know this point: it is easy to impress non techy people with almost anything. By definition they aren't aware of the full potential of what computers can and cannot do. In fact I regularly find friends emitting cries of 'ooooh' and 'wow' when I introduce them to something as simple as desktop search (so I'd love to see the reactions of those same participants to Ubuntu Beryl an interface considered legacy by Linux users).

Still you combine all these Microsoft controlled factors and the chances of these participants coming away very impressed still ended up being less than 50/50.

In truth I was going to ignore the Mojave tests completely due to their unscientific nature, but given the false impression the Mojave Experiment gives by suggesting there was a near consensus of overwhelmingly positive feedback I had to step into the breach.

So let me conclude with this: Vista isn't as awful as everyone thinks. What it is is a heavily watered down version of a daring and ambitious original vision. It is years late and its nanny state approach to computing is as frustrating to many enthusiasts as the OS is underwhelming, BUT it isn't a complete train wreck. Vista performs admirably on the right hardware, has the unenviable task of trying to cater to potentially millions of hardware configurations and 18 months of patching has made it a much more compliant beast than it was at first release.

More to the point in all this is the question of why the Mojave Experiment viral campaign was necessary in the first place? Simply put: because Vista wasn't good enough out of the gates.

Never take anything at face value people...

Mojave Experiment

The Mighty Ben

August 1, 2008, 4:52 am

There go your chances of joining the Microsoft PR team Gordon. Never mind, keep up the good fight! That said, it's just not the same since Bill left. Who are we supposed to throw virtual pies at now?


August 1, 2008, 5:02 am

I actually have a lot of respect for Bill Gates funnily enough TMB! I think Microsoft gets a rough deal most of the time, but it shouldn't be allowed to mislead consumers with this - which it seems no one has picked up on...


August 1, 2008, 1:53 pm

I'm fed up with people bashing Vista. It's only crap if you try to run it on a crap PC. Whether it's a big enough step up from XP is another matter, but it has a load of features that I would really miss if I went back to XP.


August 1, 2008, 2:28 pm

Ive using ms op sys since dos was its daddy

Usually they have turned out to be inovative and eventually provide great platforms for increased efecientcy or useability.

Just once though I would like to see them launch a product (which let us remember they have charged the user a high premium) that does what it says on the box from the beginning


August 1, 2008, 2:52 pm

Alex, I disagree. I run Vista on a 2 grand pc, and it's still a crap. There are still easy to reproduce bugs in the file handling, I've seen it crash in some amazingly weird ways (we're talking the GUI subsystem dying, stuff like that), and has some of the most atrocious bits of HCI design I have ever seen.

It's worth me adding that the bugs I experience are often only present in the x64 version, it seems the 32 bit version is a lot more reliable.


August 1, 2008, 3:02 pm

To be honest guys, the merits of Vista are an endless discussion though the main argument of the story is that The Mojave Experiments are being presented in a misleading way. Bizarrely no publication has picked up on this and I felt a responsibility to publish.


August 1, 2008, 3:05 pm

PS - The story is also not about what Vista is like now, but why the Mojave Experiments were necessary in the first place and why it was so important for Microsoft to exaggerate their results to the public...


August 1, 2008, 3:24 pm

Stephen, It's funny, I'm running x64 on a &#163700 PC I built myself and it works fine! I have had wierd problems on my laptop which runs the 32bit version, so concluded the x64 version was superior. Funny our experiences differ so much.

The Mighty Ben

August 1, 2008, 3:53 pm

The reason is that Windows has been steadily losing market share to its competitors over the years (Linux, Mac OS) who have seized this opportunity to go for Microsoft's jugular. I can't say I blaim them for using a little sophistry to make their product look better. If it means more people adopt it and benefit from the enhanced security & features then maybe one could say the're just using a white lie to combat a misconception? No harm done, except to their corporate reputation which was never that hot to begin with. It's not like a prime minister demanding a threat analysis be 'sexed up' to instigate a one-sided war that results in the deaths of many innocent children. Still, thanks for investigating this one G! Btw I love (to hate) Bill too.


August 5, 2008, 11:07 pm

Hi Gordon: I work on the Windows Vista marketing team and noticed your article. The Mojave Experiment certainly has created some interesting discussions. I did want to point out some of the numbers you mentioned in your story are incorrect. You said;

Here's the fact:

46 per cent of this first figure were only 'Somewhat Satisfied' with what they had seen

37 per cent rated themselves 'Somewhat Likely' to recommend Mojave

In short: 57 per cent were not very impressed with Mojave and only 46 per cent were very likely to recommend it.

Those are actually not the Mojave Experiment facts. These were facts from a Vista user flash poll from a few weeks ago and were only a subset of the following facts. The Vista User flash poll facts are as follows;

89% of users expressed satisfaction with Vista and 83% would recommend it to a friend. Of the 89% that expressed satisfaction 43% were very satisfied and 46% were somewhat satisfied. Of the 83% who would recommend 46% were very likely to recommend and 37% were somewhat likely to recommend.

The Mojave facts are as you mentioned; 89% of users expressed satisfaction with Mojave and 83% of users would recommend it to a friend or family member. You are correct that the target audience for the Mojave Experiment was consumers, not technical enthusiasts. The premise was consumers had a preconceived idea about Vista but had not experienced it for themselves. We have received the feedback that people would like to see consumers testing the operating system for themselves and we are working on bringing that component in the next phase of Mojave.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. We are interested in your feedback.



August 5, 2008, 11:19 pm

I attained all the figures directly from the Mojave page Marty so I find your claim odd - and at the very least very confusing. I also notice the Mojave figures page disappeared shortly after this article was published and has reappeared in a slightly adjusted form so we should discuss this directly if you can email me: newsed@trustedreviews.com with your number.


August 5, 2008, 11:24 pm

@Marty - PS, I think your and my definition of a 'consumer' rather differs. From what these people said in their videos they clearly had little to no knowledge of modern computing and were not allowed to interact with the operating system itself. I give a full breakdown of my criticisms of the Mojave Experiment in the article so I shall not rewrite them all here.

As I say, please contact me. Professional enquires should go through phone or email - not the comments section.

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