Microsoft Back on the Offensive

Jul 23, 2008
Updated • Apr 1, 2014

After its $500 million “Wow Starts Now” campaign completely bombed, Microsoft went awfully quiet and let the public, the tech community and Apple noisily tear Vista to pieces.

Understandably of course, there where a lot of serious issues with Vista’s release, nothing we hadn’t seen before, but issues nonetheless. It’s safe to say that 2 years later these issues have been resolved and as Tim Anderson declared:

“Vista is now actually better than its reputation. That’s a marketing issue.”

Thanks to the infamous, largely inaccurate yet brilliant “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” advertisements Apple managed to walk all over Microsoft and contribute to what may be a permanent tarring of the Vista image.

Several months ago however there was the announcement that Microsoft had sold its latest $300 million advertising campaign to another  company

This month however we have began to see the launch of what we can only presume to be the new Microsoft campaign aimed at removing that anti-Vista stigma. The Microsoft website has been completely redesigned, removing the Aero inspired elements and replacing it with a lighter look, attractive and well designed. The design manages to say ‘Microsoft Windows’ without saying ‘Vista’ which is what I imagine the intention to be.

The most interesting thing on the front page is the banner advertisement declaring

“at one point, everyone thought the earth was flat”

Which I think is very good start and gives me a little more confidence in the Windows campaign. It’s clever and unique and gets the message across without being corny or seeming to compete with the Apple ads in any way.

The website the banner leads to is also well designed and provides a whole lot of easy to read and understand information about Vista. The only thing I still don’t think is being sold well about Vista is some good solid reasons for upgrading. The list given is quite short and really a lot more could be said, but I guess I’m not running a multi-billion dollar company here so they probably know best.


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  1. Rarst said on July 24, 2008 at 3:27 pm


    Yep it’s good that Vista have exactly feature you need. But that single feature doesn’t make it instantly better than XP overall. :)

    You made sane choice with clear “because”, but plenty of people rationalize using Vista by hyping crappy features like ReadyBoost they didin’t even try or read proper info about.

  2. Thinker said on July 24, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    It all depends how you use your computer. The most annoying thing in XP was that, when I started it I have still to wait some time after seeing desktop for HDD to stop loading stuff. Then I clicked Firefox, my IM program, winamp, torrent and…. I could go for a coffee, because loading all those programs takes more than 1 minute. In Vista? All is instant. Thanks to super prefetching.
    I’m working as web-master of web based game. I very often start programs. With Vista I can work faster. Not very much, but I feel more comfortable. I was working before with more than 20 XP versions – home, prof, SP1, SP2, SP3, tiny versions, my own versions, big integrated versions with every hack possible. I’m using windows since version 3.0. Vista is best of all. And from all Vista fancy stuff I like only aero, rest is useless for me.

  3. Rarst said on July 24, 2008 at 10:21 am

    >Vista starts program faster. It’s a fact that you can’t beat. Just try it.

    I couldn’t care less about startup time. I start my core program once a month and they just keep running. I need system that is realtime fast not one that saves me few seconds on something I do extremely rarely.

    >Additional things that Vista does are not slowing computer because they done when your computer is in idle state.

    Yeah, sure. That’s why I keep hearing complains that Vista puts priority on internal tasks and freezes user out (especially on relatively underpowered stuff like notebooks). :) It is supposed to work in idle, doesn’t mean it always does. And some stuff like DRM crap runs realtime by definition.

    A little disclaimer – I am not Vista hater for the sake of it. But I am greatly dissapointed with it. It is boring upgrade stuffed with crappy features, slower and with higher system requirements. Not something I want to replace my XP with.

  4. Thinker said on July 24, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Vista starts program faster. It’s a fact that you can’t beat. Just try it.
    Additional things that Vista does are not slowing computer because they done when your computer is in idle state. I often see HDD working when I left my room and get back 15mins later.

  5. Rarst said on July 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    >The comment about Vista being slower then XP is not true

    Quoting Microsoft:
    “Behind the scenes, Windows Vista is doing a lot more on your behalf than Windows XP does. It’s indexing your files so you can find them fast, keeping your hard drive organized, saving your work so nothing gets lost, and defending your computer against hackers and phishers.”

    It IS slower. It can’t be faster by design. All people saying it is faster are either comparing it to really crappy XP install or are using self-hypnosis. :)

    >What things do you think haven’t been fixed now after 2 years?
    Tons of internal DRM crap that slows some critical tasks like file copying to a crawl.
    Crappy performance on notebooks (on normal notebooks, not upper-class that pack more hardware than average desktop).
    High system requirements (if it could work on XP-level hardware adoption process could be way more smooth).

    >extends just about every single feature of XP as well as significantly more

    Examples, please? Features that sucked in XP and were fixed by Vista. :) I am big fan of specifics.

  6. joshua said on July 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    @Thinker, rruben… agreed!

    @Rast: Yes, the sexier comment is about right, its true Vista is miles better looking then XP but it sounded a bit lame.

    The comment about Vista being slower then XP is not true, run Vista and XP on the same hardware with fully updated drivers and you’ll find Vista running faster and smoother then XP. I have two similarily spec’ed computers one with XP the other with Vista and the XP one feels terrible compared.

    What things do you think haven’t been fixed now after 2 years?

    Also I fail to see how Vista could be considered a ‘boring’ release considering it extends just about every single feature of XP as well as significantly more. The Windows Flip feature is the LEAST of the Vista features and I agree, it is useless.

  7. Roman ShaRP said on July 23, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Back on offensive?

    They better back on XP :)

  8. iampriteshdesai said on July 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I want to try those Vista transparency things. Don’t know whether I should get Vista. Compiz on Ubuntu has been way cooler than Vista however Brown sucks.

  9. Rarst said on July 23, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Sorry if double comment, something glitches.

    >Everything works perfect and – what’s important – much faster.

    Much faster than what? Windows XP is faster than Vista.

    >Vista is a rather boring version
    Nice way to put it. :)

    >Customizing XP had always been fraught with hidden problems.

    Except for stupid packs that mess with system files it was usually rather smooth for me (got tired of it years ago).

  10. rruben said on July 23, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I just like vista, it’s much better than xp. And I can say that because I use them both. And of course there are some useless stuff in their like the sidebar which I have turned of and the UAC is turned of. But besides that I really don’t want to go back to xp anymore as primary system. XP sucks :-P

  11. GR Terrero said on July 23, 2008 at 11:25 am

    As far as Windows goes, Vista is a rather boring version. That Vista flip thingy is the most useless feature imaginable. I always forget that it’s there. It just lies low in Quick Launch. So much for the WOW factor. There are third-party apps that put Vista flip to shame.

    However, customzing Vista has been a blast. Full glass transparencies and theming are a breeze thanks to the guys at CodeGazer and AeroXperience. Customizing XP had always been fraught with hidden problems.

  12. Rarst said on July 23, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I stopped reading at “Sexier!” (exact quote). Are they freaking desperate? It’s a word Apple fan army may use, not corporate dominating OS.

    In my opinion Vista has bad reputation for a number of reasons… And they better fix those reasons, not reputation.

  13. Thinker said on July 23, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Vista is really much better than people on the internet says. I upgraded 2 months ago and I’m really happy. None of proclaimed Vista problems were true for me. Everything works perfect and – what’s important – much faster. I’m happy every day when I click an application and I don’t have to wait 10-30secs for loading it from disk – application caching is awesome.

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