Laid Back Launch Set for Vista, Office 2007

The long wait is finally over. Today, at a launch celebration event in New York, Microsoft will officially unleash its long-awaited Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 System products to consumers around the world. Today is only a launch event: Both products will be available tomorrow, January 30.

The question, of course, is whether this kind of launch can generate excitement anymore. More than a decade ago, Microsoft launched Windows 95 and Microsoft Office 95 at a gala event at its Redmond campus. Around the world, eager consumers lined up outside of retail outlets for "midnight madness" events, where they could claim to be among the first to purchase the new products.

Today, Microsoft will spend even more money launching and marketing Vista than it did on Win95, but the launch event seems tame in comparison. And although a few retailers will open at 12 A.M. tomorrow morning, there's none of the buzz or excitement around Vista that we saw more than a decade ago with Win95.

Part of the reason for this shift is market maturity. When Win95 burst onto the scene in 1995, computing was still stuck in the dark ages, with nary a high-speed Internet connection in sight. Today, much of the world is interconnected, and Windows has become much more stable, secure, and capable. Put simply, Microsoft doesn't have as much to improve on, and those who buy Vista will likely do so electronically.

Even Win95's seemingly omnipresent TV advertising campaign--where the hip younger generation finds out about what's hot on the Internet--would likely fail today. What's hot now is Apple iPods, Xboxes, cell phones, and MySpace, not Windows or Office.

And that's too bad: Despite years of delays, Vista is worthy of your attention and consideration. As is, of course, Office 2007, although its promise of increased productivity is unlikely to get anyone too excited these days. After all, that's been the promise of each new Office version.

The long wait, finally, is over. Today, at a launch celebration event in New York, Microsoft will officially unleash its long-awaited Windows Vista and Office 2007 products to consumers around the world. Technically, today is a launch event only: Both products will become available for sale tomorrow, on January 30.

The question, of course, is whether this kind of launch can generate any excitement anymore. Over a decade ago, Microsoft launched Windows 95 and Office 95 at a gala event at its Redmond campus. Around the globe, eager consumers lined up outside retail outlets for "midnight madness" events where they could claim to be among the first to purchase the new products.

Today, Microsoft will spend even more on launching and marketing Vista, but the event seems tame by comparison. And though a few retailers will open at midnight tomorrow morning, there's none of the buzz or excitement around Vista that we saw a decade ago with Windows 95.

Part of the reason for this shift is market maturity. When Windows 95 burst onto the scene in 1995, computing was still stuck in the dark ages, with nary a high-speed Internet connection in sight. Today, much of the world is interconnected, and Windows has become much more stable, secure, and capable. Put simply, Windows Vista doesn't have as much to improve on, and those that will buy it will likely do so electronically.

Even Windows 95's seemingly omnipresent TV advertising campaign would likely fail in today's world, where the hip younger generation finds out about what's hot on the Internet. And what's hot is iPods, Xboxes, cell phones, and MySpace, not Windows. And certainly not Office.

And that's too bad: Despite years of delays, Windows Vista is worthy of your attention and consideration. As is, of course, Office 2007, though its promise of increased productivity is unlikely to get anyone too excited these days. That, after all, has been the promise of each new Office version all along.

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