Apple's macOS Mojave shares name with fictitious Microsoft Windows release

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in macOS
If the name Apple chose for this year's macOS release sounds familiar, it's because Microsoft, ten years ago, used Mojave in an ad campaign as an alternate name for Windows Vista.

macOS mojave introduced at WWDC


During the introduction of the new macOS at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference keynote, Apple's Craig Federighi took some time to talk about the macOS naming convention. For years, Apple named macOS versions after large cats (Cheetah, Puma, Tiger, Leopard, etc.) Starting with macOS X 10.9 in 2013, the convention switched to California locations -- Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra. And, while the last several locations referred to mountains and rocks, "Mojave" is something else: A desert.

"We've left the High Country for a place entirely different but no less beautiful, but here still in California," Federighi said.

However, to longtime veterans of the Mac-PC wars, "Mojave" has another meaning. The name was once used, for an operating system, by Microsoft, albeit only as a ficticious code name within in a single TV advertising campaign ten years ago.

The Mojave Experiment

The Mojave Experiment Microsoft commercial in 2008


The year was 2008. Microsoft had released Windows Vista, and it wasn't going so well. The successor to Windows XP had been released in early 2007, but the consumer reaction was less than positive.

Users complained about everything from the cost, to the DRM restrictions, to unnecessarily restrictive hardware requirements. As of early 2007, nearly 80 percent of business PCs were reportedly ill-equipped for Vista.

Vista had acquired something of a bad reputation by its second year. That July, Microsoft reacted with a bizarre online advertising campaign, which resembled something of a blind taste test for operating systems.





Windows XP users were put in demo rooms and told they were trying out a "new version of Windows," with the code name Mojave, but it was merely Vista itself with a different skin. After universally positive reviews in front of hidden cameras, the test subjects were told that what they'd just praised was actually the hated Vista.

The idea behind the campaign was that Vista wasn't actually bad, just that they had heard bad things about it.

It was a strange campaign, because it didn't really address or rebut any of the complaints customers had about Vista, but rather was aimed at those who still used Windows XP and had yet to switch.

Mojave reaction

The Mojave Project


The reaction to the campaign wasn't much more positive than that of Vista itself.

The New York Times pointed out that the campaign failed to rebut most of the negative points about Vista. "Many of Vista's glitches have involved setting it up and installing drivers and applications. But in the Mojave Experiment, the software was preloaded, so that aspect of Vista was not tested at all," tech reporter Dan Mitchell wrote.

Colin Campbell of Macleans wrote at the time that "Microsoft thinks you're stupid," and likened the Mojave campaign to "an effort to prove to the world that its Vista operating system doesn't suck."

"We've decided it's a horribly misguided gimmick in which Microsoft seems to be shifting blame for its bad PR problems over to their customers," Campbell continued. "The message: you're stupid for not liking Vista and for trusting the reviews. Really, the only thing to take away from this campaign is that the Vista name is mud and Microsoft needs to change it, fast. When you start attacking and insulting your own customers, it's a sign of desperation."

As for Vista, it was replaced by Windows 7 in 2009.

The new Mojave

Apple, in the macOS X era, has avoided OS releases that were treated as laughing-stocks. The odd history of the Mojave name with Microsoft was mostly unremarked upon following Monday's announcement, although a few Twitter wags had jokes ready:

Microsoft, 2006: What if we showed people Windows Vista, but told them it's a new operating system called "Mojave"?
Apple, 2018: What if we showed people macOS High Sierra, but told them it's a new operating system called "Mojave"?

-- Lior Halphon (@liji32)


If this coincidence was noticed at all within Apple, it clearly wasn't deemed enough of a problem to not go ahead with the name.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 525member
    I still like the name.
    Windows might call the next version ‘Ultra super mega Windows’ for all I care.
    Windows will still remain a garbage OS for consumer folks. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,112member
    Windows might call the next version ‘Ultra super mega Windows’ for all I care.
    They should call it The Philadelphia Experiment.
    cgWerksradarthekatwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 16
    The worst MacOS is still better than the "best" Windows OS, regardless of the name.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,287member
    Precisely zero people are going to know or care about this historical footnote.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,677administrator
    jkichline said:
    Precisely zero people are going to know or care about this historical footnote.
    I can count four people who at least know about it now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    .

    The new Mojave

    Apple, in the macOS X era, has avoided OS releases that were treated as laughing-stocks. The odd history of the Mojave name with Microsoft was mostly unremarked upon following Monday's announcement, although a few Twitter wags had jokes ready:

    Microsoft, 2006: What if we showed people Windows Vista, but told them it's a new operating system called "Mojave"?
    Apple, 2018: What if we showed people macOS High Sierra, but told them it's a new operating system called "Mojave"?

    -- Lior Halphon (@liji32)


    If this coincidence was noticed at all within Apple, it clearly wasn't deemed enough of a problem to not go ahead with the name.
    That statement is hilarious! Vista was one of the reasons I switched to Mac and got my first PowerPC MacPro then when they went intel I never touched Vista ever. LOL. However I still found it funny at the time that Vista ran faster on a Mac then any PC at the time... (https://gizmodo.com/329555/pc-worlds-declaration-of-vista-fastest-on-a-macbook-pro-turned-into-mac-vs-pc-ad)

    That was a good bit of nostalgia there.  I like what Mohave has to offer for Apple, but windows 10 for me has been the most stable OS from Microsoft I ever used since windows 3.1 days. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    ivanhivanh Posts: 154member
    Yes, it was the time I decided to switch the family’s computing environment from Windows to MacOS. I remembered that Vista was made “intentionally” slowing down older PCs in order to push users to upgrade their machines. I did, but instead, upgraded all to Macs at home. Then Windows 7 replaced Vista, with superb performance. When iOS 12 was debuted as 70% faster, I was reminded the pain of Windows Vista as iOS 9, 10 and 11. I really look forward to iOS 12 as a strategy change to Apple as much as Windows 7 to Microsoft.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,373moderator
    I made a lot of money off Vista.  It was the reason I switched to Macs, which led to investing in Apple, and here I am today, retired in paradise.  Thanks, Microsoft.  
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 541member
    Vaguely familiar but I lost all interest in any MS OS years ago.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 62member
    I have to use Windows7 at work and I can only say I hate it SO MUCH, it kills my productivity by at least 30%. Those people only improved their score because they had a new computer and they probably were browsing the web. Windows just makes you miserable.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 159member
    windows 10 for me has been the most stable OS from Microsoft I ever used since windows 3.1 days. 
    Agreed. Win 10, once you get used to it is better than XP or even 7. I have to use it at work and I gotta' admit it's pretty good. But any machine I buy has macOS on it. Even with the bugs and issues macOS has had recently it's still better than Win10.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    danvmdanvm Posts: 568member
    DAalseth said:
    windows 10 for me has been the most stable OS from Microsoft I ever used since windows 3.1 days. 
    Agreed. Win 10, once you get used to it is better than XP or even 7. I have to use it at work and I gotta' admit it's pretty good. But any machine I buy has macOS on it. Even with the bugs and issues macOS has had recently it's still better than Win10.

    I remember when people talked about OS X / macOS because it was a good OS.  Now you said it's because is not as bad as Windows.  I don't see this as a good thing...

  • Reply 13 of 16
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,094member
    I remember Vista fondly like one would stepping in dog shit.   The unbelievable gall that Microsoft had for putting something out that was just so inherently bad right from the start.  I had countless hours lost working on countless PC's over the years.  On those rare moments now when someone from the far back alley calls me for PC help, if they're on Vista, I simply say "sorry, can't help you.".  

    It was definitely one of Microsoft's darkest moments.  It was not that long after that I decided to try MacOS (OSX) and never looked back.

    Horrible work.  The engineers that developed it should be ashamed of themselves.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    danvm said:
    DAalseth said:
    windows 10 for me has been the most stable OS from Microsoft I ever used since windows 3.1 days. 
    Agreed. Win 10, once you get used to it is better than XP or even 7. I have to use it at work and I gotta' admit it's pretty good. But any machine I buy has macOS on it. Even with the bugs and issues macOS has had recently it's still better than Win10.

    I remember when people talked about OS X / macOS because it was a good OS.  Now you said it's because is not as bad as Windows.  I don't see this as a good thing...

    Well thats just it, I agree I prefer Mac OS to windows, however, the scales seem to slowly tip to where Vista was to Where High Sierra is. Perhaps not as crazy, but Microsoft seems hungry like Apple was when tiger was out and Leopard to follow, it pulled me away easy, but for a serious work environment - i can see how Microsoft can maintain a foot hold in the corporate culture and even for home use because windows as a service is NOT the same Microsoft from the past and actually is pretty darn reliable, I never thought those words would ever be associated with each other - Microsoft and Reliable! 
  • Reply 15 of 16
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,746member
    Interesting piece of tech history! Thanks!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    adm1adm1 Posts: 806member
    I still to this day get handed vista laptops being asked to speed it up or fix something. A quick upgrade if possible (7) or downgrade (XP) and it's all sorted and running much faster. Still amuses me how many people expect a 10+ yr old windows computer to run like it did on day 1.
    A mac on the other hand - my very first was a G5 iMac and it DID last well over 10 years performing well until I killed it by putting it in a damp garage. :disappointed: 
    watto_cobra
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