Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Evolution of Windows Codename Mojave

It's nothing short of a veritable Windows fiesta over in Redmond. Following the launches of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 earlier this year, Windows 7 Client and Windows 7 Server/Windows Server 2008 R2 are now taking center stage. But at the same time Microsoft has not given up on Windows Vista. Not only is the company pouring a reported $300 million to catalyze a face lift for Windows, but in addition to the marketing acrobatics planned for debut in early September 2008, the Redmond giant also introduced the Windows Codename Mojave. As of August 26, Microsoft is yet again focusing the limelight on Mojave, delivering evolution of the experiment complete with updated Vista content.

Fathered by David Webster, general manager, Brand & Marketing Strategy at Microsoft, Mojave is no longer an item of novelty by any means. The new website features a close integration with Silverlight, including Deep Zoom capabilities, but also new content focused on Vista. The new Mojave redesign and the updated videos are live as of August 26.

"We've heard from supporters loud and clear that we needed to do more marketing around Windows Vista to regular users, and that is exactly what we are doing with the Mojave Experiment. As we have discussed, we're working to get the Mojave message out to consumers through website updates, retail activities and ads on cable stations. However, I do want to stress that while the Mojave Experiment is part of Microsoft's broader effort to talk about the value of Windows Vista, it is separate from the Crispin, Porter & Bogusky campaign," Webster stated.

Windows codename Mojave, experimental as it might be, serves a purpose beyond Microsoft's initial intentions. While promoting the need for a new perspective on the latest Windows client, Mojave is also inherently emphasizing the severe depreciation of the Vista brand since the operating system hit the shelves back in early 2007. Microsoft was never shy of applauding Vista as what it referred to as a “great product,” and as usual, the company has the statistics to back up its claims.

"We researched satisfaction levels among existing Windows Vista customers - the survey found that nearly 9 of 10 (i.e. 89%) customers are either satisfied or very satisfied with their Windows Vista experience. And, satisfaction is increasing over time - customer sat level is 92% satisfied/very satisfied among those who bought Windows Vista during the last 6 months. More than 180 million Windows Vista licenses have been sold (as of June 30, 2008), and, as analysts have reported, corporate adoption rates are consistent with Windows XP rates in similar timeframes. So looking strictly at customer satisfaction and sales data, things are going very well for Windows Vista," Webster added.

In the end, Mojave is designed exclusively as a catalyst aimed at convincing potential customers to at least give Vista a look if not a test drive or even a second try. The experiment was born from the need to deliver a reaction to the Apple “Get a Mac” ads, and is an illustrative of a new Microsoft, gearing away from a passive presence. Of course that with SP1 having softened all the rough edges of the RTM version of the operating system, the Redmond company indeed has now a chance to Wow users.

"The Windows Vista operating system delivered big changes in security, performance and graphics capabilities. These were long-term changes designed to bring customers forward and they are paying off, but it's true they also created near-term pain for customers immediately following launch - notably, some applications and devices didn't work (or work well) on Windows Vista. The product has come a long way since then. We and our partners have worked extremely hard to fix incompatibilities and optimize drivers for increased performance and stability. We shipped SP1 and countless other Windows Updates that have significantly improved Windows Vista over the last 18 months," Webster concluded.

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