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How to do product launches right: Microsoft is back

Rob Enderle | Oct. 12, 2015
All product showcases should be staged events professionally done where people leave excited about what they saw, says columnist Rob Enderle. Here’s a look at why Apple has been so successful and how Microsoft just got back in the game with a successful hardware launch.

Microsoft actually did this for the Windows 95 launch, which kind of copied on a larger scale the launch of the Mac. I watched AMD do this one year with great results and then never do it again. It was kind of frustrating. How could people not get how powerful this is even when they did it themselves?

Surface launch

The Microsoft Surface launch in New York was flawless. The best parts were the Lumia Phones (the demo guy really was a pro), Hololens X-ray and the Surface Book reveal. The presenters were all very professional, the audience was salted with fans of Surface, Xbox and even the Microsoft Band (surprised me, too). Energy was high, and the products were arguably the best that Microsoft has ever brought to market in hardware, and it all worked fabulously.

By this point I’d kind of given up on Microsoft in terms of launches, but they surprised me (I kid you not there was actually a point during this thing that I teared up I was so pleased ) and showcased just how powerful doing one of these things right can be. Everyone was rehearsed, everyone was on their mark, and the only hiccup was a prank one team played on one of the presenters which actually worked as a bit into comic relief.

Microsoft makes a comeback in how to launch new products

The contrast between a tech show like CES and a car show where new automobiles are presented is dramatic. The car show is staged and the cars are professionally showcased and presented in the best possible fashion. At a tech show it is often folks reading specs off slides on way too many products and the only excitement is wondering whether the person next to you is going to snore, fall off their chair, or whether the nimrod on stage had ever actually seen the products or script before that moment.

All product showcases should be staged events professionally done where people leave excited about what they saw. They should not be tests of survival and our ability to stay awake. Steve Jobs knew this (see the movie if you can) and it appears Microsoft now does as well. Whew.


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