Microsoft is ready to launch its campaign to save Vista's reputation, which has been formed by the software giant's miscues as well as Apple's funny ads. The big question: Is this a mess that Microsoft can market its way out of?
Ed Bott found the first hints of Microsoft's campaign. The gist: "At one point, everyone thought the Earth was flat. Get the facts about Windows Vista."
I agree with Ed that the campaign is a good start and it's also true that Vista SP1 is probably better than its reputation. But--and this is a big "but"--will people want to hear it? How many people are permanently turned off to Vista?
Microsoft is off to a good start by acknowledging its miscues and moving on, but a bad reputation is hard to overcome. I know this first hand. I'm checking out laptops and I pause when there's one with Vista on it. My work laptop and home desktop are XP. I have OS X too on a MacBook Pro. I'd even try Ubuntu with less worries than I have with Vista.
Am I brainwashed by all the chuckles I've gotten out of Apple ads? Perhaps. Am I wary by all the horror stories? You bet. Am I as willing to give Vista a try as I was at the launch? Nope. Intellectually, I know Vista SP1 is probably fine--there's a reason few companies do a Windows upgrade before the first service pack. Emotionally, there's just something about the Vista moniker that gives me pause. If Microsoft just renamed Vista and launched it again I'd probably go for it.
I reckon my attitude toward Vista probably isn't warranted today. Ed would say I'm nuts. But I'm a person that can suffer from PC rage. Give me a driver that doesn't work and I'm fuming. I'm ready to punch the screen. I just want stuff to work and when it doesn't I'm not the tinkering type. When it comes to home improvement I've managed to boost my personal rating to “not handy," a vast improvement from "ridiculously not handy" and "this guy shouldn't own a house because he's dangerously not handy." So why would I even risk a spin with Vista when I'm just going to punch a screen or hang myself with an Ethernet cord?
This psychosis is what Microsoft has to overcome.
Can Microsoft's logical campaign about Vista, which may work on enterprise customers, trump the emotional reaction to a botched Vista launch? I have no idea, but I do know Microsoft is going to spend a lot of dough finding out.