Is it possible – they want it to suck?
It’s bad on purpose? Like NEW COKE?
There is more money in replacing something we hate than something we love.

I read a blog entry today that hinted at a conspiracy-like theory that Microsoft internationally leaked a pre-release beta copy of Windows 7 onto the bit torrent pirate tool web sites. Almost all the reviews of Windows 7 are positive, and the Beta seems to be receiving great respect as a solid replacement for Windows Vista.

This got me thinking more deeply into what smart people might mastermind in the world of marketing. Perhaps the conspiracy can be explained and imagined even deeper than that. Maybe Vista sucked on purpose.

Lets evaluate for a moment the idea of Microsoft Windows in general. It is an operating system to a computer platform that is the market leader. In today’s world, more people already own a computer than will buy a new one in any given year. Sure, computers do get purchased, and more contain a Windows operating system than MAC or Linux… but most people already have a computer.

To most people, there is no need to ever buy an Operating System.. ever. It always comes on their computer.

However, as an operating system company, Microsoft can’t just release one product and sit back. They must update and upgrade in order to keep current with new technologies, and hold their lead over the competition. Each new operating system released is presumably a better way to do things… but a change that will annoy existing customers.

Since the beginning of computers, upgrades have been annoying because some of the things you loved got changed or removed, and the way of doing things you’ve mastered often changes. If you’re new to computers, the first thing you learn is the operating system, and to new users, the way of doing things is usually better. It’s the conversion to that new way that is difficult.

Vista was/is a fantastic operating system if it was the first one you ever saw. It was less impressive if you knew XP and have to re-learn things. Mostly, Vista’s bad reputation was manufactured by Apple’s creative “Vista sucks” ad campaign, and not really justified.

However, I remember from the start, people who loved XP were bashing Vista as bloaty and pretty, but not very well designed and not worthy of the $300 price tag they forced upon upgraders. People seem to have forgotten how everyone hated Windows XP when we all used and loved Windows 98se.

Now comes 2009, and a rumoured release date for the new Windows 7 operating system… not a Vista SE, but a new name and look and feel… again. So soon.

If Vista was a well loved operating system, people would be screaming at Microsoft for being so gutsy to force us to all learn a new operating system all over again, just a year or two after they’d released Vista. It would be called a stupid move. Service Pack releases are free, but new Operating Systems cost money. It would be considered a useless grab for money.

However, because we all perceive Vista a sucky, we’re not only happy to pay for a new OS again, we’re actually excited and anticipating it. People are holding off buying new computers and OS CD’s because they know the “good” one is coming soon.

It occurs to me that this actually worked out well for Microsoft. Making Vista suck was a profitable act of marketing genius. We all still bought it, and now we’ll buy the next release. We wouldn’t have been happy with Vista Service Pack 2 solving all the headaches. To be fair, there really are no real flaws to Vista beyond perception anyway… so a service pack can’t fix public perception as easily as a new release.

Vista doesn’t suck at all. We are just told it does, so we’ll pay $300 for it’s replacement.

In 3 years, the world has bought two full operating systems, when the majority would have been happy without either. We were all happy with XP.

Vista is pretty. Windows 7 is even prettier. Mac’s are VERY pretty, so we were losing that ground. Remember I said that an operating system is what people learn first. If you have never owned a Windows computer before, you could choose Windows OR Macintosh. People may pick the pretty one.

Windows 7 is now very pretty… and because of a marketing concept to release an OS that sucked, and a replacement shortly after, we are now all eager to upgrade to Windows 7. The world will have a pretty OS in no time.

As a Star Trek fan, I remember always hearing the chants about the odd/even curse. It was spoken that odd numbered Star Trek movies suck, and even numbered movies were better. The idea held so strong that Paramount almost knew that fans were going to hate movies #5 and #7 before they were released…

After a bad product, people want to love the replacement. The Americans understood this concept too, and were confident that a black candidate could even win against the former administration. I would guess a dog candidate may have won against Bush if he was personalty on TV.

Windows ME sucked… and XP was loved. We love to hate the first drastic change, and really love the second change.

I liked Vista. I’ll proably like Windows 7. It’s just easier that way.