Home > Computers and the Internet > Microsoft: Admire the Chrome Plating, Never Mind the Turd

Microsoft: Admire the Chrome Plating, Never Mind the Turd

July 30th, 2008

Part of Microsoft’s new ad campaign to resuscitate Vista is something they’re calling “The Mojave Experiment.” They found a bunch of people who had never used Vista and who had only heard bad things about it, and told them that they had a new version of Windows called “Mojave” which they wanted to show them. Predictably, all of the people were “wowed” by the demo and had a completely new and positive opinion on Vista. In essence, it’s a rehash of the old is-it-really-margarine? commercial.

Of course, it’s a complete fraud. The bad things such people might have heard about Vista could include crashes (the only bad thing mentioned explicitly in the campaign video), incompatibility with hardware/lack of drivers, it’s a memory hog and might require new equipment, the security is obnoxious with endless nagging reminders… stuff like that. This is the kind of stuff that only becomes apparent if you’re using it in real life, however; in a demo, on a powerful and carefully controlled machine with the settings just right, walking a person through the cool features with an expert on hand to assist… well, you could make almost any piece of crap software look presentable. And when you first present Vista with the Flip 3D and the Gadgets on the side and make a sales pitch about improved security without having to live through it, I’m sure anyone’s impression would be positive.

But the coolness of Flip 3D soon fades (if you were prescient enough not to get Home Basic in the first place), you begin to wonder if you really need that clock taking up valuable screen space, and the nagging security forces you to investigate successfully how to turn off the major security features so you can have a peaceful computing experience (until the first significant piece of malware hits you).

In short, a demo is not actual use, and actual use is where people have gotten the worst impressions of Vista. The demo did not show these people that they would have to pay for expensive upgrades if not a completely new computer in order to use Vista without it slowing their PC to a crawl. The shiny new and high-power machine they undoubtedly used in the ad campaign was likely tweaked such as to have virtually no chance of crashing, with the person leading the demo knowing what pitfalls to avoid. The demo did not show them that their existing printer and other hardware might not still be compatible. The demo did not have them use any of their existing software to see what problems would develop. The demo did not give them time to realize that there was really not much of substance that is not already in XP. They got a dose of flash on a specially prepared machine (which is probably what impressed them more than Vista’s features even if they weren’t aware of it), and so were snookered into giving a chrome-plated turd the thumbs up. (“Oooohh, look! Chrome!”)

An honest test would have taken these same people, given them a free copy of Vista to take home and install on their own and then use for a month, and then report back. But they didn’t do that, because they knew full well that the results would be a whole lot less impressive.

The ad site is here. Despite my version of Safari having Flash installed, the site wouldn’t play on it. Figures.

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  1. Hachi Gatsu
    July 30th, 2008 at 13:13 | #1

    It’s funny you mentioned this. I recently broke down and purchased a 2gb RAM chip for my laptop. Not because I run 1,000 things at once (hell, I barely run four things at once), but because my system was so slow and glitchy with the stock equipment running Vista. My computer was struggling just to run it’s own operating system. I had to max this thing out in terms of RAM and now it runs alright.

    I know you mentioned before it was possible to build a PC and have it run a MAC OS with the help of a chip…does Leopard still need that? I know I couldn’t choose if I wanted Vista on my laptop (it was a gift), but I know I can choose my operating system for my next computer, and as “fancy” as Vista is…I’m not really all that impressed and in fact, I’m kind of glad I just have home basic. Any luck?

  2. Luis
    July 30th, 2008 at 16:07 | #2


    Check out this site:


    That should give you all the info you need.

  3. July 30th, 2008 at 21:36 | #3

    which is better… batman or the olympics… both are out on the eighth…. tuff

  4. Christopher Bruno
    July 30th, 2008 at 22:43 | #4

    I’ve actually managed to install Mac OS X Leopard on my PC and I’ve noticed it runs much faster than Windows Vista did. Now this in on a PC that has specs well over the requirements that Microsoft recommended and I can notice just a little big of sluggishness compared to Mac OS X. Not to mention OSX is much nicer looking IMHO.

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