Signs of life emerge on the Vista marketing front

After months of denials of problems, refusals to acknowledge the existence of a much-needed service pack and hundreds of missed opportunities to set the record straight, the Windows client marketing team finally seems to be going on the offensive.

After months of denials of problems, refusals to acknowledge the existence of a much-needed service pack and hundreds of missed opportunities to set the record straight, the Windows client marketing team finally seems to be pulling its head out of the sand. Whether you think -- from a technology standpoint -- Windows Vista finally is the product it should have been when Microsoft released it to manufacturing in November 2006, it's plain, even to the most loyal Softie, that the marketing side of the Windows unit has been lagging. (I'd like to use a stronger word or two here, but ZDNet is a family blog network.) Over the past couple of months, however, there's been a change in the air. The Vista Team Blog used to be a blog in name only (and a place for Microsoft to house regurgitated press releases, in reality). But last month, Windows Client Communications Director Chris Flores actually fought back against a Vista-bashing market study in a post subtly entitled "Forrester Gets Schizophrenic on Windows Vista." On August 26, Windows officials used the blog to address the many and ongoing criticisms of the company's "Mojave" marketing campaign. (The Mojave campaign was a simple set of videos showing focus-group participants exposed to Vista masquerading as an unannounced new operating system, Mojave.) Just a few months ago, the Windows team wouldn't have done much more than issue the standard "no comment" when asked about study methodologies or whether Microsoft had rigged the videos or participant list. There's still lots of room for improvement.

How about an update on Vista Ultimate Extras? Even though Microsoft still has yet to launch its $300 million Crispin Porter ad campaign designed to reinvigorate Microsoft's and Windows' consumer branding, why not start talking now about why Jerry Seinfeld was chosen to play a role? (Or at least start showing some trailers/teasers to get folks interested in the ads that are due to launch in early September.)  Why not talk about how many users really are downgrading from Vista to XP -- and offer some incentives to convince them it is safe to go wtih Vista? Heck, while we're dreaming, why not ask Vista SP1 users what they'd like to see in Vista SP2 (before the feature list is completely locked down, if it isn't already)? Or publicly address (and correct) the misleading guidelines regarding which older machines really will run Vista? Even Apple -- with a fanbase so loyal that many would throw their iPods and iPhones off a bridge if CEO Steve Jobs told them to -- is coming to realize that it's inappropriate to answer legitimate questions and complaints with silence. The Windows marketing team's change of tactics is better late than never. But in Vista's case, I wonder if it's too late to undo the marketing damage that's been done.What do you think? Can Microsoft reverse the public perception of Vista as damaged goods?

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All