Dissecting Microsoft's Mojave Experiment

Dissecting Microsoft's Mojave Experiment

Summary: Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, something stuck me about Microsoft's Mojave Experiment that hadn't clicked when I first watched it. Out of the 140/120 participants (the number varies depending on the source) that Microsoft say took part in this experiment, we don't actually seem to hear from that many. Why?


Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, something stuck me about Microsoft's Mojave Experiment that hadn't clicked when I first watched it. Out of the 140/120 participants (the number varies depending on the source) that Microsoft say took part in this experiment, we don't actually seem to hear from that many. Why? 


The Mojave Experiment is like "The Pepsi Challenge" but where participants have to judge which is the best drink based on seeing someone else take a sipAt first blush, I think that you're supposed to believe that you're being presented with the views of all the participants, but when you actually count the screens, you see that there are only 55 on offer. OK, 55 out of 120/140, not bad ... but ...

Take an even closer look and what you find is that not all of the 55 video snippets on offer are either by different people or for that matter unique. Of the 55, six are a montage of clips used elsewhere. What you also realize is that several of the participants appear more than once on the page. Now I didn't think that this was all that odd, after all, some people are better in front of the camera than others. However, what did hit me as odd was finding some of the videos are duplicated in the Flash presentation. For example, row 1/column 7 and row 5/column 6 is the same sequence, as is row 2/column 7 and row 5/column 10, and then there's row 4/column 3 and row 5/column 5, oh, and row 4/column 2 and row 5/column 7.

One video also seems to have been removed (row 1/column 4) seems to have been removed. In this clip the woman seemed more interested in the fact that Microsoft had made a box for the fake Mojave software than anything else and wanted to know if it was a brick inside the box (the salesperson assured her that there was software in the box, just not Windows).

Once you eliminate the montages and people who appear in more than one clip, you end up with 35 participants who actually appear on screen (35 if you exclude the woman talking about the box, who seems to have been removed from the experiment). It's possible that a few extra people show up in the montage clips, but these are far too brief for me to bother trying to ID them. Given a pool of over 100 participants, I would have expected to have seen more faces, and definitely no duplicates. The way it looks to me is that Microsoft had a hard time filling the 55 available spaces with good commentary about Vista.

Several readers have asked me for my opinion on the experiment. Well, in my opinion, what you are seeing are a bunch of people pre and post receiving a sales pitch. We all know how effective a good salesperson can be (just think of any time when you, or someone you know, has been lumbered with something they didn't really want because of an effective sales pitch) and the effect here is no different. Also, all these people were lured in on the false promise of being shown a brand new OS, not Vista. That kind of build up generates higher levels of expectation, so many of these folks would have been pumped about Mojave before the experiment started. Then there's the fact that all these people had never used Vista before, and therefore have no questions or concerns that they can pump at the sales folks. You also never see any of these folks actually try to do something for themselves, so they are basing all their opinions on watching someone else work with Vista (The Mojave Experiment is like "The Pepsi Challenge" but where participants have to judge which is the best drink based on seeing someone else take a sip). Bottom line, I think that while the set up of the experiment was clever (maybe even devious), the outcome is vacuous to say the least.

But ... maybe the personal trainer effect that we see here shows just how important the Apple Stores are in making Apple (and the Mac OS) a hit with users. A ten minute demo and "BANG!" they're sold.


Topics: Windows, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Want to dissect Vista Licenses sold as well?

    regarding MS quote "Revenue growth was primarily driven by continued customer demand for all products, including Windows Vista, which has sold over 180 million licenses since launch"


    • Yeah...

      And HP did the same with the Windows 2000 to XP transition.


      Of course you also fail to mention that this refers to HP OZ's [i]business[/i] sales, not [i]personal[/i] sales which are nearly all Vista.

      Oh, as an aside, can you guess what the companies did with all those XP licences when it came to the next hardware refresh?
      Sleeper Service
      • As soon as SP2 came out for XP...

        Dell and HP both quit offering 2000. They offered 2000 because XP had serious issues prioir to SP2. And now they are offering XP because Vista has serious issues. Make all the excuses you want, in the business world, XP is still the OS of choice and will be until MS addresses the issues that are preventing Vista's adoption. MS at least had the courtesy to admit XP had issues. Instead, now they are simply denying any problems and trying to force feed their latest, not greatest OS.
        • So you're saying...

          ...when MS address the issues with Vista - as they did with XP by releasing SP2 (after which adoption jumped by about 30%) - businesses will move over to Vista.

          Like they did with XP.

          Thanks for proving my point.
          Sleeper Service
          • Not really...

            For the reasons pointed out in the Inquirer piece that isn't going to happen this time.

            From a simple administration perspective moving from XP to Vista in an enterprise environment would be a bit of a nightmare. Nor would the help desk function of an enterprise find it terribly easy to deal with.

            Then there are legacy apps of all kinds that enterprises have that would need recoding, high hardware requirements for virtually no return except that the OS demands it, UAC and on and on.

            The most telling fact is that given the down economy globally right now the next hardware refresh is far more likely to be delayed than accelerated not to mention the simple fact that enterprises do have licences allowing them to take XP off a retired box and install it on a new one. Bye bye Vista if the supplier put Vista on it. Then again, large enterprise suppliers like Dell will more than happily ship boxes to their enterprise customers with no OS on it at all should that be what is wanted. Not an uncommon request, actually.

            The reality is that there is simply no compelling reason to move from XP to Vista and lots of reasons, in the enterprise, not to.


          • Problems are much different.

            I doubt they can be fixed with a service pack. Nice try though.
          • So quantify these problems...

            ...and then we can see if they're issues or not.

            Go on.
            Sleeper Service
        • SP2?

          So once Vista SP2 comes out, Dell and HP will quit selling XP, and Vista sales will finally take off.

          But by the time Vista SP2 comes out, won't Microsoft be releasing Windows 7? Oh wait, Windows 7 **is** Vista SP2. Except it will likely have enough app incompatibilities that enterprises will have to start all over again getting ready for it.

          Remember that one of the reasons XP had a chance to finally get so good was that Vista was delayed for so long. But now that Microsoft has decided to go on a short cycle for new releases, that can't happen again.

          If you disagree, then explain what you think the scenario is going to be for the next few years.
          • Dell and HP...

            ...have already quite selling XP aside from downgrade options just as HP did with XP to 2000.

            The scenario will be one of slow adoption over a three to five year cycle as per usual.
            Sleeper Service
  • Customers want XP.

    Especially in the business world. Businesses will spend money if they are going to get a return. Vista offers nothing but the requirement to spend more money to make it fit into the organization. It is a bad business decision at this time to bring Vista into a company. Vista offers nothing in return. No productivity increase, nothing.

    Businesses are tired of IT being a money pit and that is how Vista is viewed by the overwhelming majority of businesses.

    Microsoft can sell all of the XP it wants. Businesses will buy it. This endless rhetoric MS is spewing regarding Vista just makes them look bad. They have a dog and they need to admit it. Then give the customer what he really wants - XP.
    • Customers want XP

      This is especially true when there is almost nothing for businesses that Vista can do that XP can't. When critcal software (for example versions of Office) start going Vista only, then this might generate the need for change. But we are far from there yet.

      I have had many requests to install XP on business machines because the system runs faster and they can still do everything they want to do. At the moment it is a no-brainer.
      • xp

        My company's contract with Dell specifies systems will have XP installed or we just won't buy their PC's. While the official line is that Dell is stopping support for XP, realistically even they know that it would be a bad move for businesses. My teenage daughter has been struggling with Vista for 6 months now on non-business applications and even she wants to change back to XP.
        Vista sucks and MS is being as stubborn as George W. in admitting it's mistakes.
        • MS ways to be wrong

          This is worse that nothing, ways more worse than Vista. MS cannot understand that users (clients) want transparency and effectiveness. Vista has nothing. MS is showing nothing. MS misdirection is clear as the day - until something changes, and (big) heads roll, this will continue. This MS arrogant and irrelevant face is just like someone on control. Does this guy use a computer?
          green alien
    • Vista Not Compelling

      One of the biggest issues with respect to Vista is that it does not present a compelling case for upgrade. We have one PC in our office running Vista. After tweaking the UAC, it runs fine, is stable, and does what you expect it to do, sometimes faster than when it was running XP.

      But when you compare it to XP, there's nothing other than the user interface that jumps out at you, and a new UI is not enough to justify a change of that magnitude.
      • Exactly my point.

        It can be argued all day whether Vista is good or bad. But businesses are rejecting it because their is a better solution for what they want - XP. No business likes to be forced into spending money where they don't want to spend money and they feel like this will be the end result if adopting Vista.

        I've bought nine new laptops with Vista. pcAnywhere host has issues with the connection dropping at random. It was unusable until I finally turned off interrupt moderation on the NIC. It still drop but less frequently. I have a ton of money invested in pcAnywhere and the way we use it. It works great with XP however. Vista is killing me here. I'm not going to buy anymore because of that reason. At least as long as I can "upgrade" to XP through HP.
      • Not compelling--the exact right phrase

        I remember our upgrade to XP. It was painful--MANY of our two thousand some-odd workstations had to be replaced because they didn't have the horsepower for XP.

        BUT, there were several compelling reasons to upgrade from NT to XP (especially after SP2), which just aren't present this time around.

        Like filemakerpro, I look at the pain of conversion vs. the benefits, and just can't see why we would ever upgrade. Too bad, MS.
  • Well done, AKH

    You eventually realised this was a marketing pitch and not a serious documentary.
    Sleeper Service
    • Agreed

      True words. I recognized the marketing theme the minute I heard about the "project", and I actually use Vista on my personal PC. Frankly, while it's not given me any issues, there is not a true killer ap that mandates switching from XP other than the eye-candy Aero interface. But then again, I really don't care about OS' all that much anyway so long as they don't crash on me.
    • Eh?

      Is it supposed to be something OTHER than a marketing campaign? You have a skewed view of Windows users I would say. We're not all Kool-Aid drinkers like the majority of the Mac crowd. I'll happily say that there are great things about both companies, but I choose PC because it's cheaper and will always be more widely supported.
  • What did you expect?

    Do you honestly think you get the oportuninty to view all the videos?

    Like anything that has a time limit placed on it, you choose the best ones that convey your message.

    Additionally, not everyone comes across on tape as intelligible as one may want, (trouble putting their thoughts into words) so you leave them out as it can be a detriment, even if they are agreeing with you.

    This is the world of marketing.