Microsoft has launched a campaign that aims to counter what it describes as the “confusion and lingering misunderstandings” about its latest operating system – Windows Vista.
Since the launch of Vista early last year, the vendor has had a battle on its hands to convince some of the more vocal XP users to upgrade to the new system.
More than 210,000 of the most vociferous users signed a Save Windows XP petition submitted to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on June 30 – the day the company stopped selling OEM and shrinkwrapped versions of XP.
The petition highlighted a number of issues that users have with Vista, including higher hardware costs, driver problems and application incompatibilities.
But Ben Green, Microsoft New Zealand’s Windows client and mobile marketing manager, believes much of these issues are no longer a problem, and this is the message the company is trying to spread.
While acknowledging that the perception around Vista is still being plagued by issues early users encountered – such as problems with device drivers and application incompatibilities, Green says these have been resolved. “We have moved on significantly from then. With applications and drivers supported now, the experience people have today is quite different.”
According to Microsoft, more than 2700 software programs are now certified to work on Vista, while it also supports 77,000 hardware products.
Current complaints are from people who used either Vista early or others who have not used it at all, which is resulting in a great deal of misunderstanding about the system. “Therefore we are launching a get-the-facts drive. A big part of it will be with the channel.”
Vista presents big opportunities for partners, says Green, adding a study by IDC Research in the US showed that for every dollar a customer spends on Vista, partners earn $22 from implementation and service revenues. “Partners need to understand the opportunity around Vista in terms of services.”
By changing customer perceptions around Vista, Microsoft aims to increase demand for the operating system, says Green. “If we do it right, we should see a surge in customer demand.”
One major selling point Microsoft is pushing with Vista is its security credentials. “Security is what resonates with customers. Vista is the most secure operating system we have ever created,” says Green.
The company also wants to entice its partners to give Vista a go. “We are encouraging partners to deploy Vista. Partners need to understand the issues customers have and the best way to learn it is to go through it themselves.”
Meanwhile, Green challenges speculation that some customers may wait to transition directly from XP to Vista’s successor, Windows 7, which is due in 2010. “People who would wait for Windows 7 are not likely to be early adaptors.”
Green says since Vista has the same code base as Windows 7, it would makes sense for users to adopt the new architecture sooner rather than later. “Vista is the operating system of the future.”