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It's RIP Vista as Windows 7 is launched

Louisa Hearn (The Age) | Oct. 22, 2009
Three years after Microsoft introduced the bug-ridden and poorly received Windows Vista to the world, Microsoft launches Windows 7 knowing full well that another disaster like Vista could spell curtains for the once indomitable software giant.

"The Bill and Jerry commercials were the first salvo in creating a conversation in the marketplace. We needed to not talk about stuff but to tap into the silent majority. In terms of sparking that conversation, we are very pleased with the outcome of that," DeBragga said.

More recently its Windows House Party instructional videos provoked a strong reaction from a number of Microsoft party hosts who felt it did not depict them in an accurate or flattering light.

"The cutting edge types are some of our best advocates, but we have a huge base of users out there and we needed to cut across lots of different types of people," DeBragga said.

In a new initiative, the company revealed this month that it had sponsored a whole episode of the Family Guy airing on November 8 to promote Windows 7. The show will cut all commercial breaks and network promotions and instead feature Windows 7-branded programming blended seamlessly with show content.

Competitors spoil the party

Whether or not this helps it to win over mainstream consumers, it is clear Microsoft cannot have the desktop market to itself. Competitors have not been shy with spoiler product announcements and campaigns designed to divert attention away from the launch of Windows 7 in recent days.

Apple yesterday announced a range of new, cheaper Mac computers and a new multi-touch mouse that is likely to turn some heads among those looking to upgrade their desktop computers.

Google also chose this week to promote a "Gone Google" campaign promoting the benefits of its cloud-based Google Apps suite.

Although it is not a direct threat to Windows 7, some experts believe the role of desktop computing could be unseated by the rise of cloud based services such as Google Apps.

"If two emerging trends in the IT industry - cloud computing and virtualisation - gain in popularity, desktop computing will become obsolete. This would render the systems required to operate desktop applications redundant," said Associate Professor Sanjay Chawla, head of the University of Sydney's School of IT.

"Microsoft may not release another desktop operating system beyond this week's release of Windows 7," he said.

- with Asher Moses


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