The “When?” ends now

What’s left to say about an operating system that’s been hyped about, griped about, embraced, embattled, and beta tested by what Microsoft claims is five million people? Apparently not a lot. At last night’s official launch of Windows Vista and Office 2007, even Michael Sievert, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows Client Marketing, admitted that most of those in the audience had probably seen most of Vista’s highlight reel before.

Probably the most interesting part for me from a research perspective was more detail than I had heard on the “Windows Vista families” and the “Burn to CD” button that some mom had insisted appear in Vista’s photo gallery application. Ethnographic research is all the rage but you rarely hear much insight into it as it’s usually done on a custom basis. Having kids launch the Times Square signage was a cute touch.

It was quite a contrast from Apple’s iPhone unveiling in January. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there but all accounts described the crowd reaction as if they were  watching the Beatles reunite — yes, with John and George back from the hereafter — and win the World Cup for their country. In contrast, despite the synchronized light show from nearly every large-screen display in Times Square, the Vista launch was very anticlimactic. As someone I’ve known a good while in the industry spun it, “Another year, another Windows.” He works in PR.

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