During my time in Beijing for the Olympics, I was using a Lenovo Ideapad U110 to blog, capture and upload images and video and video chat with my family. Loaded on the machine was Microsoft Vista, and so I had my first experience using the much maligned new operating system from Microsoft. About the same time, Marc from BizBox (a site where I am now a contributor) pointed me to a viral campaign Microsoft had put together online around their "newest" operating system code named Microsoft Mojave. They invited customers to come and test out the new operating system, and also interviewed them about their perceptions of Microsoft and Vista. All said relatively the same thing, that they didn’t like Vista, but were excited to see what Microsoft had next.

Most loved using the new Mojave … and later learned that Mojave was just a made up name and that the operating system they had used during their sessions was actually Microsoft Vista. The videos are below, but they feature an insight that I myself had a chance to experience over my three weeks of using Vista, it is actually a really cool operating system that is easy to use and offers features that take it beyond earlier versions of Microsoft’s operating system. Their challenge is to redefine their brand that Apple has basically defined for them through their popular series of "Hi, I’m a Mac" ads.

It will be interesting to watch if they do manage to make some progress on telling the real story of Vista more broadly. I, for one, left impressed as a user at the capability of the new operating system and actually miss some of the features now that I’m back on my own Thinkpad X61 running Windows NT. Perhaps it really is buggy and difficult to install in coporate environments (as some people complain), but I honestly had no such problems as an individual user. That’s the real secret of Vista that Apple has worked hard (and successfully) to counter. The majority of people who think Vista sucks believe that because of crafted messages such as Apple’s marketing, and not based on their own direct experience. That’s the perfect incentive to focus on doing some more experiential marketing. Now it’s just up to Microsoft to tell it’s own story rather than letting Apple tell it for them.