Windows 7 launch parties fizzle

Let’s face it, the Windows 7 launch party concept was a complete and utter failure.

Are you just waking up and nursing a hangover after hosting one of those wild Windows 7 launch parties? No? Well, you at least attended one, right? Invited to one but had a scheduling conflict??

Let's face it, the Windows 7 launch party concept was a complete and utter failure. The YouTube video Microsoft created to market the launch party concept certainly got attention, but for all the wrong reasons. It was almost universally mocked and parodied. Just look at the endless list of 'Related Videos' making fun of the launch party promotion.

One reader commented in the PC World forums to lament his attempts at hosting a launch party. After receiving only one response, which wasn't even the official RSVP, the reader examined the RSVP in more detail and found "it looked like the whole TON of apparently life-sucking legalese I had to agree to in order to HOST a party. With even GUESTS having to agree to everything short of giving up their BIRTHRIGHTS to Microsoft and its subsidiaries, heirs, etc., how is ANYBODY supposed to actually get people to do the "official RSVP?!?"

Even PC World's Rick Broida got so little response to his own Windows 7 launch party invites that he simply canceled the event.

My PC World colleague David Coursey believes that Microsoft intentionally played the Windows 7 launch low-key. After the wild spectacle that accompanied the launch of Windows Vista, and the subsequent backlash against that OS, it makes sense that Microsoft would take a more practical approach this time to avoid any proverbial egg on the face.

I agree with Coursey that the official Windows 7 launch events had less hoopla by design. However, the Windows 7 launch party concept and Microsoft's attempts at igniting hoopla at a grassroots level demonstrate an attempt to hedge its bets and have its cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, nobody was having any cake at Windows 7 launch parties.

Remember high school--cool kids went to parties and had fun while nerds hung out at math club and played Dungeons and Dragons? Well, the two don't mix. Hosting a party where you play Dungeons and Dragons or discuss algebraic functions doesn't make you cool just because you put the word 'party' on it.

Microsoft has had many failed attempts at being hip and cool. Microsoft Bob. The Office paperclip character. The Bill Gates / Jerry Seinfeld ads that seemed to require some sort of psychotropic mind enhancement in order for them to make sense. It just doesn't work.

Apple is cool. I don't agree with the premise of many of the Apple "I'm a Mac" ads, but I almost always find them entertaining and compelling. Apple didn't waste any time coming out with a new series of the "I'm a Mac" ads targeting Windows 7 too.

Microsoft does much better when it accepts its nerd-factor or at least sticks to more practical advertising. The "I'm a PC" campaign, mocking the "I'm a Mac" ads and embracing the fact that Windows is not Mac OS X, or the more poignant Laptop Hunters ad campaign, are both examples of Microsoft making a point without trying to be cool.

Let Apple be hip and cool. Apple has gained some operating system mojo lately, but it is nowhere near posing a threat to Windows dominance. Windows 7 already had word-of-mouth momentum from the unprecedented Beta and RC (release candidate) preview access and the Windows 7 launch party was a bad idea that just gives Microsoft opponents one more thing to ridicule.

Windows 7 is cool, as far as operating systems go, but not worthy of drinks and appetizers while everyone loads it up and shares tips and tricks with each other--not even for uber nerds. The only launch party I know of that was even a remote success was this one hosted by PC World senior editor Robert Strohmeyer.

He didn't even save me a piece of cake.

Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He tweets as @PCSecurityNews and provides tips, advice and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at tonybradley.com.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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