Wherever you look, there’s Windows Vista

New York City was the place to be last night to get a sense of what Microsoft is calling the most signficant product launch in the company’s history.

This was the global launch party for Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007, both of which go on sale to consumers worldwide from today.

It will be hard to avoid exposure to Microsoft’s marketing and communication activities – especially concerning Vista and the “Wow” campaign – in the more than 70 countries in which Microsoft will be rolling out their marketing campaigns. Microsoft says that both products are available at launch in 19 languages (with 99 languages anticipated by the end of the year) from more than 39,000 retail stores and online.

According to Advertising Age, Vista will be part of one of the biggest marketing blitzes of all time resulting in an injection, across 20 countries, of an estimated $500 million into agency and media-owner coffers.

Although Microsoft predicts there will be 100 million computers running Vista by the end of 2007, communication will be key to helping everyone – consumers and businesses alike – clearly understand the real benefits of the new operating system when there are so many different full and upgrade versions to choose from at different price points. There’s also critical commentary across many media (and blogs) over the tightened digital rights management aspects of the OS.

Still, you can expect Vista boxes to fly off the shelves in retailers across the world, be purchased online (that last method appeals to me but you can only buy it online if you’re in the US) and come already installed in thousands of new PCs.

And speaking again of launches, the virtual world of Second Life is also a venue for action.

In Europe, a Vista launch event takes place today featuring Praga Khan in concert at the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium, with live video streaming at ten venues in Second Life, including crayonville Island (crayon is the company I work for). Things start happening there at 10pm GMT. Hope to see you there!


Wherever you look, certainly today and during the next few weeks, there’s Windows Vista.