The Mojave Experiment


  The Mojave experiment is actually an ad campaign by Microsoft for Windows Vista that is more of a response to the negative criticism that Vista has been receiving. Microsoft held a series of focus groups where Microsoft took a bunch of XP users who were afraid of Vista. The general feeling about Microsoft Windows Vista is that it’s inferior to Windows XP, problems with Vista fall broadly into categories of compatibility, performance and usability. 
  They started by having some random people responding to some questions about Windows Vista. Microsoft asks them questions like “Why haven’t you upgraded yet?” They usually say that they have heard about all the problems. These people are then introduced to a new version of Windows called Windows Mojave. The people respond favorably, and then Microsoft tells them that Windows Mojave is actually Windows Vista. The ad then shows the footage of the people wanting to get Windows Vista.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Groups Advertisement

  Focus groups are often of use when deciding on the look and feel of a website or product. They gather good data on emotive issues as people are quite willing to give their opinions and impressions of items. They will allow you to develop an appropriate presentation through pointing out what things work or don’t work for users. It can also be helpful to show groups several different designs in order to facilitate conversation on what it is they are looking for in a design. Used early in the design process focus groups are also useful at gathering user requirements. People can talk about their expectations for a website/product, such as what functions they expect the website/product to have. They also discuss similar systems which have worked for them in the past and those which have not, allowing you to see which designs and functions are the most effective. This valuable information is then fed into the design process to ensure the production of an end product which people will want to use. 

  However Microsoft decided on using the focus group format after they developed and released their software in order to curb some of the bad press the new operating system has been getting.  With focus groups the results obtained are influenced by the researcher, raising questions of validity. People argue that focus groups are often useless, with focus groups often aiming to please rather than offering their own opinions or evaluations, and with data often taken out of context to support a foregone conclusion.


Microsoft, (2008, August). TheMojaveexperiment. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from The Mojave Experiment Web site:

Elgan, Mike (2008, August 1). What’s Wrong With Microsoft’s ‘Mojave Experiment’?. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from Web site: 

Fried, Ina (2008 July 25). Mojave experiment gets a Web site. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from Web site: 

Martin (2008 July 29). Retrieved September 16, 2008, from Mojave website is up. Web site:



4 Responses to “The Mojave Experiment”

  1. Ever since the TV commercial came out I always wondered what was up. How do people evaluate an operating system through looking at some canned functionality. Absolutely ridiculous! A real low point for Microsoft. Well, scratch that, it validates a run in I had with them a few years ago. I will explain. A few years ago I was part of a team looking at a document repository solution. The specs stated that it had to facilitate a couple of terabytes of data. Microsoft was touting some software that ran on NT. A few hours after the big meeting with them I got a frantic call from my HP representative. I had purchased a number of servers from her over the years and we had a good working relationship. She said that Microsoft had called her and demanded that she supply hardware at cost so that their solution would come in under budget. Further, they told her that if she didn’t give them an at-cost price they would not recommend HP hardware. Real classy.

  2. From my own perspective, I don’t think that Vista is too bad of a system. When I purchased my laptop last year, it came with Vista on it. I was hesitant at first but as I used it, I got used to all the differences.

    It is the same for me whenever we try to change something in the fire service. Someone may have come up with a better, easier way to do something and because we have done it a particular way for 40 million years it doesn’t change. I guess that is why I try to have an open mind about change. It’s very hard but necessary to strive towards providing better services to the community.

    I am by far not a computer expert but I do believe that I look for the same feature that most everyone else looks for, ease of use. If it is not easy to use then most of the end users will not use it or go with something else. So if it gives you more features and is still easy to operate you should have the best of both worlds.

  3. Alex,

    I’m a little behind in the way of software upgrades; I just upgraded from XP to 2007. I do know that many of my professional colleagues had a fit when they converted to Vista because of the major hang-up that occurred.

    I think you completely right about the validity of doing focus groups to curb bad press. They obviously conducted those sessions knowing that they would air them at some point.

    As we read in this week’s PowerPoint, developers are always trying to “improve” upon softwares and make them more compatible with intranets and Internet. Organizations are really going to have to take it upon themselves to offer major IS/Software tutorials prior to a software conversion. Software companies come up with products that they know there is market for; obviously Vista programmers were more interested in capability and not ease of use. Future generations will probably not have such dramatic reactions to these sorts of issues because they are so tech savvy.

    I do think Mojave was nothing but a scam, the same as the new “I’m a PC” commercials. Very nice post!


  4. scoutmstr25 Says:

    I enjoyed reading your post on the Mojave experiment.I too wrote a post on it. I thought that it was very interesting. To my surprise many were against the whole experiment. They claimed that it was wrong to cheat the people. One critic said that had this experiment been used to sell an Apple product, Apple would have taken a lot of heat for this. The same critic thought that it is unfair that Microsoft could get away with all this.
    I too recently switched from XP to Vista. I am one of the few that like Vista. I also did not rush out to buy it as soon as it came on the market. I waited until Vista had all of its kinks worked out.
    I have enjoyed all the options that it allows me. I also like the ease of storing videos and pictures.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: