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March 2, 2006

Origami marketing virus mutates

Posted by David Hunter at 12:19 PM ET.

Microsoft’s Origami viral marketing scheme continued to unfold today as Reuters reports:

The veil of mystery surrounding Microsoft’s secretive Origami portable device lifted just a little on Thursday after the firm updated the project’s cryptic Web site, hinting that all would be revealed on March 9.

The web site is and it says we will “find out” on March 9. I expect it would be impolite to observe that a week ago it said we would “learn more” today. In any case, theories abound:

It may be coincidence, but March 9 is also the launch in Hannover of CeBit, the world’s largest annual trade show for the information and telecommunications technology industry.

GottaBeMobile points to a Intel viral marketing site (it must be catching),, which seems cut from the same ultramobile PC cloth, but promises details on March 7. More on the Intel UMPC at TG Daily. Either Microsoft and Intel are each going to have their own ultramobile gadget or they need to synchronize dates.

Of course, you can’t control the message with viral marketing and it sometimes mutates in unforeseen directions. Valleywag’s Microsoft’s Origami: a “niche product for women” extracts maximum mileage from an analyst quote in Anne B. McDonald’s Today @ PC World column. Also there:

“Peter Pawlak, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, agreed: “Microsoft is trying to do some viral marketing. We’re not sure that’s a great idea. . .when it finally comes out it’s like the Segway scooter–where are they today?”

Matt Rosoff, also with Directions on Microsoft, told us his firm will not even be attending Microsoft’s analyst meeting on Thursday in Redmond. The meeting, he said, will be run by the research department, “For us, research is interesting as an organization, but our customers are interested in stuff that’s coming out in the next 18 months.”


Update: Ina Fried at CNET:

Although Microsoft continues to play somewhat coy, sources have provided a pretty clear picture of the mini-tablet devices. They will carry Microsoft’s software, but be made by several other companies, sources have said. They will also be larger than a typical handheld computer, with at least some of the devices using a roughly 7-inch screen.

Microsoft refused to go into details, but offered up a statement saying: “As promised on the website, we are offering more details today about Origami, including that it is a new category of mobile PCs that will run Windows XP. We’re excited to share more information with you on March 9.”

The only departure from what had been expected is the presence of Windows XP instead of Vista. Either they are going to ship before Vista is ready or it’s going to be Windows XP Embedded.

Update 2: Ben Ames and Elizabeth Montalbano at InfoWorld:

Despite the buzz being generated by its Origami Project, Microsoft plans to give it only brief mention at the upcoming Cebit trade show, even though that event coincides with when the company has said it will offer more details.

The company will discuss Origami for “only 30 seconds” during its main press conference at the Cebit trade show next week in Hanover, Germany, according to a spokesman. Frank Mihm-Gebauer, who is coordinating Microsoft’s press events at Cebit, said Microsoft partners Intel and Samsung Electronics will provide the most information to Cebit attendees about Origami, since Microsoft has not designed any new hardware for the project.

Filed under Embedded, General Business, Hardware, Intel, Marketing, Microsoft Research, New Form Factors, OS - Client, Origami, Technologies, Windows Vista, XP Embedded

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2 Responses to “Origami marketing virus mutates”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Intel says UMPC, Microsoft says Origami Says:

    [...] As presaged last week, Intel and Microsoft seem to be having separate kickoffs for their new mobile PC design. Intel lead off the dance yesterday at the Intel Developers Forum with their release of details on what they call the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) and Microsoft will introduce their version called Origami on Thursday at CeBIT. Ina Fried at ZDNet reports on Intel: In a preview of Tuesday afternoon’s demonstration, Brad Graff, Intel’s marketing director, showed CNET several of the Ultra Mobile PC devices, including an example of the kind of hardware that will ship in the next few weeks as part of the Microsoft effort. [...]

  2. So how’s Origami doing? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] It seems that opinions of the Origami/UMPC vary greatly on how much attention you paid to the cheesy Microsoft viral marketing campaign. Martyn Williams at InfoWorld: Feedback from customers who have bought Samsung Electronics’s Q1 device suggests that a pre-launch teaser campaign by Microsoft might have backfired, a Samsung executive said Monday. [...]

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