At Least They Didn't Name It "Windows Nova"
Published: September 13, 2006
by Alex Woodie
Microsoft faces a unique marketing challenge selling the upcoming Windows Vista operating system to users in Latvia. While people in the Baltic state will likely appreciate Vista's new Aero interface and the security enhancements as much as the rest of us, Latvians will first have to get over the fact that the word "vista" has an unfortunate translation to the Latvian language.
According to an AFP wire story that ran last week, Latvians were clutching their sides in laughter over the new operating system's name, which translates to "fowl" in Latvian. What's more, "vista" is a slang term for "frumpy woman," the story states. "Sure, the Microsoft people in the U.S. can't be expected to understand all languages, but this really is funny," said one office worker in the Latvian capital of Riga.
The whole thing is reminiscent of the challenges that General Motors supposedly faced in the Latin American world selling the Chevy Nova. Nova, of course, sounds a lot like "it doesn't go" to Spanish speakers, which, as the tale goes, led to horrible sales of the Nova in Central and South American (which, in fact, never happened, according to this article).
While the world has yet to experience Vista's idiosyncrasies, there's a possibility that the new operating system will actually exhibit the characteristics of a "frumpy old woman" among those who forget to turn off the new User Account Control (UAC), which is the new security feature designed to protect us from administrator-privilege-loving malware, as well as our own incompetence.
UAC, you will remember, was labeled "probably the most annoying thing ever invented" by one early Vista beta tester. Although Microsoft is said to have cut down on UAC's "chattiness" factor in more recent builds, it is still expected to grate on the nerves of power users accustomed to accessing their own C drive without training wheels. In that way, Windows Vista may very well be a frumpy old woman.