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March 8, 2006

Dog bites man: Microsoft plans huge Vista PR blitz

Posted by David Hunter at 10:11 AM ET.

We knew the Vista launch hype was going to be big, but Ina Fried explains just how big at CNET:

Aiming to re-create the excitement that accompanied the launch of Windows 95, Microsoft is gearing up for a massive campaign to launch Windows Vista.

Chairman Bill Gates has tasked the Windows marketing team with repeating its achievements with the decade-ago launch, such as convincing scores of people to line up at retail stores to purchase the operating system. The marketing budget won’t be finalized until the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year in June, but “regardless of that, we’re still being held to that goal,” said Dave Block, a senior product manager for Vista.

Speaking to a crowd of hardware developers at the Intel Developer Forum here, Block noted that there is a team at the company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters focused entirely on generating buzz for the OS, planning such things as having a Vista PC make Oprah Winfrey’s influential “favorite things” list.

“Can we get a cool new PC in front of Oprah?” Block asked. “Can we do stuff like that? I think we can.”

More by following the link, but here’s the interesting part. Since Vista comes in so many different flavors, one of the goals is a “50 percent run rate for Windows Vista premium in the first 24 months.” Premium in this context is not specifically Vista Home Premium, but any of the upscale versions of Vista for home or business.

It would be easier to judge the likelihood of all this if we knew the exact pricing (including volume pricing) for the different Vista flavors and the exact hardware requirements for the advanced features like the Aero UI. Just try telling Oprah about all the cheapie machines that either can’t run all the spiffy new UI features or can, but require that the customer fork over some additional loot for an instant upgrade once they get the PC home, out of the box, and connected to the Internet.

In that regard, the article also has some details on the upcoming “Vista-capable” program including this stunner:

… some machines will be able to run Vista and thus be eligible to be sold over the next few months as “Vista-capable.” But because they lack the necessary graphics driver software, they will never be able to be sold pre-loaded with Vista, nor do they qualify for Microsoft’s basic or premium Vista logos.

That ought to build consumer confidence!

Filed under General Business, Marketing, OS - Client, Public Relations, Windows Vista

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3 Responses to “Dog bites man: Microsoft plans huge Vista PR blitz”

  1. Joint launch for Vista and Office 2007? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] We knew that there was going to be a big buzz blitz planned for the launch of Windows Vista, but could the Madcap Microsoft Marketers be planning a joint launch later this year for both Vista and Office 2007? That’s what David Flynn reports at Australian IT in Vista hype-fest planned: WHEN Microsoft launches Windows Vista on an as-yet-unnamed date towards the end of this year, it is likely that the new Office 2007 suite will touch down on the same day. [...]

  2. Microsoft delays Vista to 2007 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The previous November release date always was cutting it rather close for the holidays and the addition of a “few weeks” probably had the OEMs throwing up their hands. But here’s a fine kettle of fish. Who is going to buy a holiday gift PC that one month later will be “obsolete” or require an operating system upgrade? I think Microsoft better launch the marketers on that one post haste. (They better put a big bandaid on the broken Vista capable program for a start.) While they are at it, they can also figure out if they still want to do a joint launch with Office 2007. [...]

  3. Not a prank: Barron’s declares Microsoft a growth stock -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] We can argue about the latter point, but if there’s any evidence that any of the money making scenarios are going to occur, I’d love to see it. The most fruitful is likely Microsoft trying to upsell premium Vista versions, but until the pricing (particularly OEM and volume pricing) is revealed it’s hard to gauge customer reaction and the resulting payoff. Finally, Microsoft’s client OS’s are currently providing about $14 billion a year in revenue, so $1.5 billion in 18 months is about 7% growth which is less than the PC growth rate. They’re kidding, right? [...]

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