Mary Jo Foley is not wrong, the Vista WOW and Speechless campaigns are among the worst ad campaigns I have seen. It misses one of the first rules of advertising. "Know your Killer App" and if you have 30 know which niches are going to want each of those. The problem is, that Vista’s Killer App is security. That isn’t particularly fun, or sexy. And it isn’t on the top of people’s mind. Not to mention it means that you have to say that your previous product was not secure.
Vista is missing the boat on a lot of its best features. Which is what happens when you let an Ad Agent tell you your features rather than asking your Developers, your MVP’s, even your press contacts. I’m sure Mary Jo Foley, or Chris Pirillo, or Jake Ludington could have come up with a list of 10 really great features that were worth focusing on.
Part of the problem is that the best features of Vista are things that don’t seemingly get any ad budget.
My short list of the best features in Vista for IT Administrators:
While it doesn’t move all of your applications it does move all of their settings which means you won’t spend forever reconfiguring e-mail, word, shortcuts, and themes, your new PC will have the feel of your previous PC in a matter of minutes.
Start Internet Explorer with No Add Ons this option allow you to help a user who has had their browser hi-jacked get out to the Internet to fix a problem. Not super sexy but a life saver in a pinch.
My short list of the best features in Vista for Road Warriors:
Connect to network projector makes doing presentations much simpler. With an 802.11 Projector and a Laptop you can walk in to any board room with a white wall and just plug in power and start a presentation. No relying on the person you are pitching to have a working setup.
Bit Locker knowing that the laptop that you left in the Taxi is not going to expose all of your customer private information, or that patent you were working on for unlimited free energy from midichlorines won’t fall in to a competitors hands is priceless piece of mind.
My short list of the best features in Vista for Families:
Parental Controls in Vista are actually pretty parent friendly. They allow a parent to limit the number of hours their children can log on, and what types of games they can play, which is a good thing if Dad and 7 year old Jimmy share a PC. Dad can play his M rated games and limit Jimmy to Y-7.
Narrator is meant for people with visual impairments but several of my friends have found that their pre-school kids benefit from it as well. It helps those learning to read do a little better getting around on their own.
My short list of the best features in Vista for Students:
Media Center is included in Vista Ultimate and many more PC’s are shipping with it. Media Center is the Ultimate accessory for a dorm room as it gives a student a DVD player, TV, and PC all in one. Add a few "Games for Windows" titles and you have the complete entertainment package in minimal space.
Sync Center is perfect for the student who bounces between home and the dorm. Rather than shuttling a computer back and forth sync center keeps two or more computers sync’ed up.
Microsoft’s list of 100 are much less tangible than my list. Saying a feature is "it’s more secure" ranks up there with car commercials that say they meet government safety standards. "Because your network is the backbone of your business" isn’t really a feature. Nike would get laughed at selling shoes "because your ankles are connected to your legs".