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November 29, 2006

Tomorrow’s the big day for Vista, but does anybody care?

Posted by David Hunter at 8:43 PM ET.

The launch event for Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007 is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:35 AM EST in Times Square in New York City, but it seems like folks are feeling a bit jaded.

Maybe it’s because Exchange isn’t really quite ready and Vista and Office will only be released to volume purchase customers. Or maybe it’s because there have already been launch events held in other countries with pride of place, as far as I can tell, going to the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 19 where it was interestingly dubbed the Love campaign (Launch of Office, Vista and Exchange). On the other hand, maybe it’s because Microsoft has forgotten how to market even their cash cows or because they needn’t bother. John Dvorak:

It’s possible that some buzz will evolve, but it’s beginning to look like a pretty standard news story rather than anything like the marketing events we’ve seen in the past. I have to assume that the promoters who put on a worldwide show for Windows 95, for example, have long since left the company.

It looks like the best Microsoft can do is provide us with an incredibly bland façade that seems more like something coming from General Electric during the announcement of a new afterburner technology for a jet engine. As an example of how peculiar this all is, can you look at the Microsoft Vista Web site and determine the message? See the Microsoft site.

The site, if you were uncertain as to the nature of the product, looks like an advertisement for an expensive prescription drug for constipation. Seriously, that’s exactly what it looks like.

While there is no way that Vista will be a flop, since all new computers will come with Vista pre-installed, there seems to be no excitement level at all.

Rather less flamboyantly, Mary Jo Foley hits the same nail:

Unless you’re a student of Microsoft buzzwords, you might have a little trouble cutting through the Microsoft rhetoric expected as part of the November 30 launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007.

The facts are straightforward: Starting tomorrow, businesses will be able to get the final Vista and Office 2007 bits. They will be able to take shipment of the final release of Exchange 2007 by mid-December.

But the wording around those facts is likely to be wrapped in lots of Microspeak. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to tie together in his messaging two of Microsoft’s favorite themes: “People-Ready Business” and “Better Together” in the “New Day for Business” event in Times Square tomorrow.

Of course, “People-ready” is comedic gold, but strictly of the “laughs at” instead of the ”laughs with” variety. Well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings, but I’m anticipating an anticlimax.

Filed under Exchange, General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Office, Office 2007, Public Relations, Servers, Windows Vista

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2 Responses to “Tomorrow’s the big day for Vista, but does anybody care?”

  1. Vista, Office, and Exchange Launched -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft today staged a rolling launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 , and associated products starting in Sydney, Australia and wrapping around the world through Asia and Europe to Steve Ballmer in New York who is still speaking as I write. The launch event so far has been as devoid of excitement as expected, but the important thing is that Microsoft at long last got Vista out the door. Filed under Office, Office 2007, OS – Client, Windows Vista, Executives, Steve Ballmer, Servers, Exchange, Microsoft [...]

  2. Vista, Office launch reaction roundup -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] It turns out that we shouldn’t have worried that Thursday’s launch of Vista and Office (et. al.) was rather ho hum - there are apparently  two more Vista launch events to come and that’s just in the USA. CEO Steve Ballmer says Microsoft will spend hundred of millions of dollars marketing Vista making it Microsoft’s most widely marketed product. Now instead of wondering about the apathy, one is forced to question the overkill. After all, as Carl Howe observes, Microsoft is a toll collector: So what’s wrong with being a toll collector? Not a thing. It’s just like being a utility — it provides a consistent earning stream that should generate significant dividends. The only problem: Microsoft isn’t valued like a utility; it’s valued as a technology company with a price earnings ratio of 23, whereas utility companies tend to be in the teens. And its dividend yield of 1.3% is a far cry from the 2% to 4% of utility firms. And utility companies don’t devote seven billion a year to research and development either, nor do they launch me-too music players like Zune. They do, however, have an obligation to do maintenance on their properties, and that’s exactly what Vista and Office are: maintenance. [...]

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