Olympic Mania Overshadows Windows Me

Harvey Norman general manager of computers and communications, John Slack-Smith, described the timing of Microsoft's Windows ME release as unfortunate but said sales are expected to increase after the Olympics when people unglue themselves from their TVs.

Paul Roworth, Microsoft Australia's Windows ME manager, prefers to see the silver lining saying the upshot of the Olympics is that a lot of people are going to be on holidays and will have time to start playing around with multimedia and digital attachments.

According to Roworth pre-sales figures and sales into the channel are right on schedule to match those of Windows '98.

The operating system is designed to turn the home computer into a hub for connecting appliances to the Internet. However, the capabilities of the ME system, and consumers understanding of it, appear a little hazy. And according to Slack-Smith, the confusion will not clear until people start using the product.

"ME will confuse consumers for a while but they'll get used to it," agrees Ron Harris, general manager of Harris Technology. "Consumers are mostly educated by the computer resellers and it will take a while for the resellers to educate themselves."

This point hasn't been wasted on Microsoft which has invested in extensive one-on-one training sessions with OEMs, systems builders, and direct access retailers. In addition, Microsoft Australia has developed an interactive tour CD to be distributed throughout stores to allow consumers to see first hand how the movie maker works, a strategy so successful it has been borrowed by the US.

While the marketing strategy for Microsoft - with Windows 2000 targeted at the business sector and Windows ME at home computing - has travelled a rocky road, the verdict across the board gives it the thumbs up.

Slack-Smith believes the marketing campaign for Windows ME is one of the best to date. "In terms of visibility it's crisp and clear and targeted directly to the personal computer users," he said.

"On the back of the Windows box there's a really distinct "Which Windows is right for me?" and then there's "Business" with a big arrow pointing to Windows 2000 and "Home computer" with a big arrow pointing to ME," explains Roworth. "I don't think it gets more simple than that."

"The statistics from the product support group for Windows 2000 suggest the message is out there and people understand it," he addedWindows ME is the first step, albeit a tiny one, in the race towards the computer automated home. The grand vision at the finishing line is a system that can turn the home air-conditioner on from the office and a fridge that can message your mobile phone that you are out of beer. And the accessories do exist to make it possible - in prototype at least. Westinghouse detailed its Internet fridge in the US last year but the reality is it won't hit the Australian market for another two or three years.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agnes King

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Cygnett 2500 ChargeUp Pocket Lightning Portable Power Bank

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?