What if Apple had conducted the 'Mojave Experiment'?

What if Apple had conducted the 'Mojave Experiment'?

Summary: In watching the many negative blog posts and comments about Microsoft's "Mojave Experiment" -- designed to try to distinguish perception from reality around Vista -- I can't help but wonder how different the take would be if it were Apple doing the same kind of marketing campaign.

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In watching the many negative blog posts and comments about Microsoft's "Mojave Experiment" -- designed to try to distinguish perception from reality around Vista -- I can't help but wonder how different the take would be if it were Apple doing the same kind of marketing campaign.

A quick refresher on Mojave: Mojave was the fake codename Microsoft assigned to Windows Vista when it recently conducted focus groups among consumers running Windows XP, Mac OSX and Linux. (Microsoft first discussed Mojave publicly last week, via News.com, so as to time it to coincide with its annual Financial Analyst Meeting festivities.) On July 29, Microsoft posted to the Web video footage from the Mojave interviews, showing how users' feelings and attitudes about Vista changed once they actually got to see the product in action, rather than just hearing about it second-hand.

In the past few days, I've seen commentators claiming everything from Microsoft is trying to dupe consumers, to Microsoft purposefully didn't discuss the enterprise versions of Vista because the company no longer cares about business users.

First things first: The Mojave Experiment is a marketing campaign. (But not part of the $300-million-plus campaign that still has yet to be unveiled around changing Vista's and Microsoft's perception among Apple-ad-inundated consumers.) The Mojave Experiment is not meant to trick users into buying Vista PCs. It isn't Microsoft's answer to the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC campaign." It isn't Microsoft trying to pretend that Vista is a flawless operating system that has gotten a bad rap for no reason. (In fact, Microsoft execs have been admitting publicly that they really screwed up with the original Vista release.)

The Mojave Experiment is simply a new way for Microsoft to acknowledge and try to combat the (well-earned) consumer perception problems it has made for itself around Vista.

The Mojave campaign is aimed at consumer users, and not business ones, for a few reasons. Apple's market share is growing in the consumer/retail space far more than in the enterprise space. That said, Microsoft and other tech vendors/watchers increasingly believe in the concept of the "consumerization of IT," meaning that if a user gets used to something at home, s/he will gravitate toward that same brand at work. At the same time, many business users upgrade unthinkingly to whichever operating system their reseller/integrator delivers to them. If they're getting new PCs and they come preloaded with Vista (with an option to downgrade to XP included as part of their license agreements), so be it.

The real "taste test" for me, when talking about Microsoft's strategies vis-a-vis those of its competitors, is how users would react if "Apple" (or insert other vendor name here) had launched its own version of the Mojave Experiment. What if Apple tried to recover from its MobileMe mess by showing users who had heard that Apple's successor to .Mac was a disaster a new version, codenamed "Gobi"? Then -- surprise -- users were told it was really MobileMe.  I'm sure commentators would be raving about Apple's marketing prowess and savvy --not about Apple's lying, cheating ways.

As I've said before, Microsoft's Vista launch could (and probably will) be a Harvard Business Case Study on how the development and delivery of a product that should have been a shoo-in went horribly wrong. But I have to give the Softies some credit: After months of silence, they're finally trying to do what they should have done a year ago, namely, figure out how to fix not just the technology mistakes, but the marketing ones,  that they created with Vista.

Do you think Microsoft should have left "Mojave" in the desert? Or would you like to see more marketing around Vista along these lines?

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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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316 comments
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  • Fight fire with fire?

    What is wrong with the "Experiment"?

    Not a thing. Apple's marketing campain (Vista Guy/Mac Guy) advertisments were all successful simply becuase they focused on scare tactics with Vista's "issues", while totally ignoring their own "issues", (as any good marketer will do). Is that not "duping" the consumer into perceiving something that is not true?
    GuidingLight
    • Few things...

      Check out my idea of a good experiment below and my
      question of this one.

      It's not Vista guy it's PC and the majority of adds have not
      focused on Vista as an OS until well the Vista issues came
      up. Most of the adds were PC guy vs Mac guy and the MS
      OS was not mentioned.

      As for duping the comsumer into perceiving something
      that is not true. Well first read my post about the
      experiment below and second since the adds were for the
      most part NOT anti Vista I would say that the truth is in the
      eye of the beholder. A great many consumers still to this
      day have Windows 2000, Windows 98, and yes some
      Windows 95 or ME. Their systems are slow by todays
      standards and limited. They are in many cases loaded with
      spyware and other bugs and have not had an upgrade in
      who knows when. So Apple going after that market a
      market that is very aware of past PC "ISSUES" is fair game.
      Buy a new iMac and if you must run Boot Camp or parallels
      and see how fast your old PC software can run plus get
      OSX....BONUS! it's all in how one looks at it and where the
      money is to be made for Apple. Are any of you going to
      defend the security of Windows 95, 98, ME?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Prove it.

        "A great many consumers still to this
        day have Windows 2000, Windows 98, and yes some
        Windows 95 or ME."

        The median market share of operating systems (incorporating Net Applications, W3, XiTi and One Stat) shows the OS share as:

        Windows 98: 0.53%
        Windows 2000: 2.47%
        Windows XP: 76.53%
        Windows Vista: 14.53%
        Mac OS: 4.33%
        Linux: 0.89%

        Windows 95 and Me are too small to get a look in.

        So your 'great many' is actually 3%.
        Sleeper Service
        • Only "IF" you believe "market share" to have any

          actual scientific value and I for one do not. Go ahead and
          make the claim that it does and then you my friend can try
          and prove it. Be warned however Market Share is as difficult
          to actually prove as the exsitence of God. You can show me
          claims but I have yet to find a one who can show me facts to
          prove market share and while I'm at it what the heck is
          Median Market Share? Another myth?

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • OS Market Share Is Easy to Prove!

            You are not correct in your statement that OS market share is difficult to prove.

            I think you will agree that virtually all PC and Mac owners use the Internet. And Internet session headers clearly identify the OS and browser used. Those numbers are summarized by several of the major IT consulting firms to arrive at global use statistics.

            Far more accurate than US political polls :-)
            John-D
          • No and you did not give any proof.....

            Only that you "feel" or "think" that these various
            sources are correct.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Now Your Words Are Just Wandering

            I think it is you that is demonstrating how you "feel" to ignore the facts.

            The original statistics presented showed their source and you can Google search for white papers on the subject from Gartner and GIGA for more factual information.
            John-D
          • Yeah...

            Internet use...thats a telling figure.

            Sales numbers well Windows 95 thru soon XP
            won't have sales numbers. So where do you go
            to find out who is using what? Internet? Do
            you know how many offices do NOT allow their
            people to access the internet? Any idea? I don't
            but I think it's a very large amount thank you
            very much. Also on the consumer level there
            are those who do NOT use the internet even
            today. A computer is still a good tool for games
            and personal productivity without internet use.
            Computer did exist before the net you know.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Message has been deleted.

            benblush@...
          • Really?

            "I think you will agree that virtually all PC and Mac owners use the Internet."

            Maybe for home use that's true. But the truth is that there are a ton of machines in the corporate/manufacturing world that never see internet daylight.... and for good reason. If anything (if you're using internet access as a means of tracking), I think that would argue that the percentage of Apple machines is higher.
            DB_z
          • Actually,

            The Mac global usage percentages tallied by internet usage are inflated because non-English-speaking users have different internet usage patterns reflecting the language barrier that exists. Most of these users do not show up in the final assessment because they don't visit the sites used to track usage. Linux and windows usages are both underestimated.
            eMJayy
          • Well would that not prove true for the Mac as well?

            After all OSX provides many a language that can
            be used with a Mac. So if you argument is valid
            then the same can be said for the Mac can it not?

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • No it can't apply to the Mac

            Global Mac sales are and have been mostly limited to countries which have English as a main language. Then consider that 50% of all Mac sales occur in the US and that most current Mac users live in the US. The number of Mac users not using the internet will obviously pale in comparison to the vast numbers of XP PCs around the globe also not connected. Since the vast majority of Mac users are domestic and American, the internet surveys will be able to track more Mac users than it can successfully track PC users, thus inflating the global Mac statistics.
            eMJayy
          • Now look....

            Macs sell in the America's where the majority
            speak Spanish. Mac's sell in France where the
            Majority speak French. Mac's sell in Germany
            where the Majority speak Italian. Mac's sell in
            Canada where a bunch speak French. I know
            Macs have Japanese and at least one Chinese
            dialect as well as Korean in their language bag.
            So I assume that in Japan and Korea at least
            they sell there.

            Now as for XP use are you sure that in places
            where the average consumer can't afford what
            MS would like them to pay for said there is not
            more Linux use? Or older Windows OS's? Since
            we can't tell based on internet usage because
            again many businesses simply do not allow it or
            that many people simply can't afford it how
            could that be a good indicator? Still I think that
            Apple does have stores in many places all over
            the world and the used market for older macs
            might also have a factor here in poorer nations.
            So again the same mistakes that count WIndows
            and Linux usage have the potential for being
            true for the Mac as well.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Wishful thinking

            When the total tally of Mac sales outside the US is currently EQUAL to that inside the US, you really can't claim they're doing brisk business outside the US. Then when you consider that the Mac market share inside the US itself is small, it's clear that the Mac has had no real impact on a global scale. And since most users of Macs live inside the US (since most of the all-time Macs sales have occurred here), a higher percentage of Mac users will be accounted for due to the US-centric nature of the analysis.

            Finally, since the global number of users of XP outside the radar is likely to exceed the total number of Mac users on the planet, there's no justification for a claim that Mac usage could possibly be under-reported.
            eMJayy
          • Really!

            I don't know what you mean by a "ton of machines" (100?). And if what you say were true that would skew the Mac use percent shown upward since so few are used within the corporate network.

            Think about it. Better yet do some research!
            John-D
          • To both of you guys...it's been fun:P

            Look E I don't know what your fixation on XP is but that is
            not important know. You point was that many a computer
            was not being tallied because it was being used in another
            language other than english. All I said was that Apple does
            have sales in many countries where Englixh is NOT the
            native language. So that has to mean that at least some
            Macs are not being counted as well. NOT hat any of these
            counting systems are truly scientific but best guesses.....

            Johnny boy. We at my company have over 150 OSX
            machines and like 100 OS9 based Macs none allowed to be
            on the network they do book creation and production.
            They are the money makers for this company. We also
            have hundreds of PC's doing data gathering for said books
            none allowed on the network. Now you may be right
            about the percentage of Macs in the enterprise but when
            just one company in this country has like over 200 Macs
            not registering on the internet based tally then it is fair to
            assume that it the internet tally system is not very accurate
            and can be said to be flawed because of said.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Pagan, I'm not speaking French here...

            You said -

            "Look E I don't know what your fixation on XP is but that is not important know. You point was that many a computer was not being tallied because it was being used in another language other than english. All I said was that Apple does have sales in many countries where Englixh is NOT the native language. So that has to mean that at least some Macs are not being counted as well. NOT hat any of these counting systems are truly scientific but best guesses....."

            I'm not 'fixated' with XP - it just happens to account for the the lion's share of windows install base around the globe.

            Yes i agree that Apple also sells machines in non-English-speaking nations and that some Macs are not counted as a result. But my actual point is and has always been that those hidden Mac numbers pale in comparison to the number of windows machines also not represented in the pie chart. So in the final analysis, the global Mac usage percentages will actually fall when you include those hidden windows numbers, simply because of the fact that they vastly outnumber all those hidden macs out there.

            You were trying to make a conclusion about Mac's hidden numbers while ignoring the effect of the windows hidden numbers on the overall usage percentage - we're dealing with percentages, not absolute numbers.
            eMJayy
          • "virtually all PC and Mac owners use the Internet"

            Um, how are you going to prove that?

            You can't collect web statistics on computers that never access the web.
            bmerc
          • What makes you think usage patterns differ that much?

            [i]You can't collect web statistics on computers that never access the web.[/i]

            I agree but your problem is that for this statement to help your cause, you have to prove that a disproportionate number of OS X machines do not access the web when compared to Windows machines. At [b]worst[/b], one must assume that the same percentage of OS X machines and Windows machines don't access the web which makes those machines statistically irrelevant to the conclusion.

            However, chances are good that it is [b]Windows[/b] machines that are underrepresented in web statistics (when compared to OS X, not Linux). Windows has a much larger server install base than OS X server and none of those servers will ever access the web so they don't get counted. We also hear time and time again that Windows machines aren't safe enough to connect to the web while OS X machines can't get hacked so chances are that more people prevent their Windows machines from accessing the web than OS X.

            As far as Linux is concerned, I suspect web statistics grossly underestimate the installed base of Linux, [b]especially[/b] when you start counting all the embedded devices that are powered by Linux.

            Face it, web statistics, while not perfectly accurate for the reason you stated above, are likely showing [b]lower[/b] figures for Windows, not higher.
            NonZealot