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Microsoft goes live with Mojave videos

Software giant is hoping that videos of Windows Vista skeptics reacting positively to Vista will help convince millions of other skeptics that the operating system just has a bad rap.

One of the Mojave participants talks about her Vista experience on the Mojave Experiment Web site, which went live on Tuesday. CNET News

So I told you about Microsoft's Mojave Experiment last week. Now it is your chance to weigh in on just how compelling the footage is.

After a few days with a teaser site, Microsoft has gone live with dozens of videos from its project, in which Vista skeptics were shown a new Microsoft operating system, code-named Mojave. After giving their take (almost all positive), the participants were told that it was actually Vista they were being shown.

In the initial video, Microsoft shows a collection of reactions from participants who were asked about their Vista impressions. Poll

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"I wouldn't touch the thing," one said.

"It's horrible," another says.

"It always crashes," a third says.

Then, they are shown a new version of Windows, code-named Mojave.

"Wow," one said.

"The speed is incredible," another said.

Then, as you know, they are told it's actually Vista and are all surprised.

"It's totally different than what I had heard," one participant said.

The software maker did put up some aggregate statistics, saying that of 140 participants, 94 percent rated Vista higher after seeing it, with none actually reducing their score. The participants' average pre-Mojave rating for Vista was 4.4, with the average rating after seeing Vista as Mojave was 8.5.

Microsoft has put up dozens of the videos, including, to their credit, at least one of a person who remained skeptical. For what it's worth, the Microsoft people I spoke with said they were actually looking for more negative stuff and just didn't have the footage.

Now, as I and others have pointed out, there is a huge difference between seeing what amounts to a short demo of an operating system and actually having to install new software, work with existing devices, and do the kinds of everyday computing tasks we all do. In addition, the videos are edited, so one has to believe Microsoft when it says it wasn't cherry-picking the clips it included.

That said, it seems to me that Microsoft is still better off using voices of people it has convinced, as opposed to its default tactic, which is to try to tell everyone that they are wrong.