Getting into the hearts of Vista users


I haven’t seen it yet, but ZDNet’s Ed Bott has – the above teaser image on Microsoft’s home page that, when you click on it, takes you to a section on the website called Windows Vista: Look how far we’ve come.

I’ve been using Vista in one edition or another since April 2007 and did some of the early beta testing. Largely, I’m pleased with it, even in the face of some pretty bad experiences last year, resolved thanks to Dell a few months ago.

Yet lots of people have nothing good to say about Windows Vista. Anecdotally, I hear horror stories usually accompanied by good-news stories about how Windows XP is better (plus of course the usual recommendations to get a Mac).

My wife’s a good example, recounting views she’s read online about how awful Vista is and offering opinions like “Over my dead body will Vista be on my PC!” (she’s an XP diehard).

In the face of seemingly relentless negative opinion out there, it’s sometimes hard to keep the faith especially when you experience some odd behaviours that seem unfathomable.

And how do you keep up your positive outlook when you add into the picture facts that some vendors will sell you a brand new PC with XP, not Vista, if you wish? Hardly a vote of confidence.

So what is the ‘good news about Vista’ section on Microsoft’s website hoping to achieve?

Ed Bott reckons it’s part of a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign Microsoft is starting to improve perceptions about the company itself as well as those surrounding Windows Vista.

He comments on some of the text in that section and adds what I think is the most pertinent view:

[…] The real hard work begins with the messages that immediately follow this one. Microsoft has to identify the real benefits in Windows Vista and communicate them clearly and crisply. That’s not going to be any easy task.

Hmm, I’d agree with that. I don’t think an ad campaign alone is going to do the trick, though, so I’d be very surprised if this were the only traditional communication activity Microsoft is planning.

Microsoft also needs to get into the hearts of users, not only the fans of Vista but also those who use it and say they don’t like it. I could see micro-campaigns market per market, identifying influencers and reaching out to them.

What social media is designed for, in fact.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Hugh Fraser

    Poor Microsoft didn’t get enough credit for the fact that XP was actually quite good, an certainly much less frustrating than what came before it. The problem with Vista is that it’s just too different from XP, and people haven’t time to relearn where everything is. Worse, the latest editions of office have lots of unnecessary changes in the interface which drive everyone mad. Well, I’m a Mac person now. The upgrade from Tiger to Leopard was an easy step for users. It’s important for these upgrades to flow naturally from the previous version.

  2. put simply

    Hi Neville, your post reminded me of a conversation we were having on our blog earlier this year about “poisoned chalices” – what PR campaign would you avoid at all cost. Whilst I don’t think this one is quite that drastic I do think there is a really long way to go for Microsoft to get users on side again. But then, what do I know – like your friend Hugh, I’m a Mac user!

  3. neville

    Hugh, XP is good as I recall from my years with it. Vista is, too, from my experience yet it seems to me that there are frustrations with Vista that severely test your patience. More than I ever recall with XP, btw.

    put simply (I don’t know your actual name), I agree, it’s a long road Microsoft has to travel. Whatever they do, it looks as though the Vista teaser and web content I describe in this post isn’t part of any campaign, according to a story in the Seattle PI yesterday.

  4. Kurt Munro

    I just don’t see any reason to upgrade to Vista right now.

    Everything on my computer currently works fine. I have a wireless network going, I can play all my PC games, browse the internet, edit videos, watch all movies that require random codecs, and I’ve never had a virus in the last 5+ years.

    It sounds like Vista has pointless changes to the UI for no good reason like the breadcrumbs feature instead of the “up a level” button.

    The only reason I’ll probably be forced to upgrade is Directx 10. And the thing is… I’ll probably be upgrading to Windows 7, not Vista.

  5. Markus

    Just as Hugh Fraser stated, upgrades should flow from one version to the other. If someone upgrades from XP to Vista, and then has to spend a half-day or more troubleshooting why their printers aren’t working, or their scanner isn’t recognized or their applications won’t launch because they need to install this-or-that driver or something, that isn’t a way to encourage users to upgrade or even consider keeping a PC (hence why many jumped ship and went to MAC).

    Hopefully, like when ME came out, the next version of Windows will fix all these problems and make it the seamless upgrade O/S that it should be. If Apple can do it, why can’t Microsoft?

  6. Bob

    Like another said: What I have works very well. More importantly, I’m tired of tried and true software solutions being screwed up by countless Microsoft “patches” and operating system upgrades that lack backward compatibility even with certain Microsoft applications.

    I still keep a Win98 machine in my office just so I can use certain applications that are better than what’s been “new & improved.” The XP “compatibility mode” was a joke – not goingthere with Vista – ever! I’ll wait for the [i][u][b]next[/i][/u][/b] generation of operating system; when there’s a real reason to change.

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