The Small Print Behind Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment

Convincing users about Vista? If you look closely the answer is: not really.

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

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