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Microsoft: Vista Ad Not Part Of New Campaign

Microsoft says a Vista advertisement making the rounds in the blogosphere isn't part of its upcoming $300 million Crispin Porter and Bogusky ad campaign.

The advertisement in question depicts a Christopher Columbus-era ship sailing the ocean, along with the caption: "At one point, everyone thought the Earth was flat".

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According to Microsoft blogger Ed Bott, the ad was running Monday on Microsoft's homepage, and when clicked, would take users to a Webpage with the headline "Windows Vista: Look how far we've come".

However, at midday Pacific time on Tuesday, the advertisement was nowhere to be found on Microsoft.com.

"There is no 'new' campaign launching today and the 'Get the Facts' website that many are talking about today has been public since the beginning of this year," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to ChannelWeb.

On the Vista Web page, Microsoft acknowledges that when Vista debuted in January 2007, the software giant touted it as the best operating system it had ever made, but unforeseen problems have arisen in the meantime that have tarnished Vista's image.

"But we know a few of you were disappointed by your early encounter. Printers didn't work. Games felt sluggish. You told us--loudly at times--that the latest Windows wasn't always living up to your high expectations for a Microsoft product. Well, we've been taking notes and addressing issues," according to the Web page.

Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, says he's been seeing a steady uptick in the number of customers who are ready to move from XP to Vista. "I do think peoples' perceptions of Vista are changing. It's exciting, because Vista has been unfairly maligned for a long time," he said.

Microsoft also notes that while speed tests have found that PCs running Vista SP1 perform in similar fashion to those running XP SP2, the only reason Vista doesn't win outright is that performs more background tasks than XP.

"It's indexing your files so you can find them fast, keeping your hard drive organized, saving your work so nothing gets lost, and defending your computer against hackers and phishers," Microsoft says on the Web page.

But despite the Vista improvements that some partners have seen, others are simply tired of dealing with what they say is a constant stream of Vista-related support calls from their customers.

"I don't think Microsoft will ever understand business users do not want flash. We want stable machines that we don't have to keep fixing, and we don't want calls from clients complaining that their new system is slower than the old one running XP," said Jay Tipton, vice president of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based solution provider Technology Specialists.

Ken Wallewein, a partner with KandM Systems Integration, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider, says "too many things are just plain harder and slower in Vista, for reasons that have nothing to do with internal changes."

Adds Wallewein: "Business users just want to get their jobs done quickly and efficiently-- they're not interested in voyages of discovery. "

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