Microsoft Vista – The “Wow!” Starts?

MS Vista.Monday at 5:45pm EST Microsoft Windows Vista launched officially. At least that was when Steve Ballmer and a visiting group of children pressed the “magic” button that sent people around the globe dancing and displaying the Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 logos.

Webcast In Progress – Please Stand By
If you were one of the thousands of Webcast viewers for the Vista launch party you were treated to the sounds of silence. Yes, audio for the Webcast was less than stellar. Is this also indicative of things to come for Vista? About twelve minutes into the opening by Bill Gates the audio popped on and then fluctuated up and down throughout most of the presentation. Maybe it was the version of Windows Media Player or the webcasting vender out of New York? No offense, but some cues could be taken from the MacWorld LIVE Webcasts.

As Bill spoke, he seemed unfamiliar with the product as he read from the teleprompter. For others it would have been embarrassing, but it did not seem to ruffle Mr. Gates.

The entertainment aspects of Vista looked nice. Tagging photos and linking to the XBox was a natural progression for the OS. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, stressed the family and digital lifestyle enhancements of Vista. As Steve talked, he too was hardly audible (even with a set of headphones cranked all the way up).

Later, several partners were paraded out on stage to accept original copies of Vista from Bill and Steve. Kevin Rollins, CEO of Dell, Hector Ruiz, CEO of AMD, and Hisatsugu Nonaka, CEO of Toshiba were amongst the noted recipients.

Finally, at fifty minutes into the Webcast the sound leveled out. Bill, Steve, and a beta-testing family (the Regans, from Germantown, Maryland) launched the “Wow!” of Vista around the world. The band Angels & Airwaves then hit the stage to perform, however, the webcast audio played two Microsoft representatives discussing the nuances of Vista! After several minutes of their banter, a technician must have noticed the discrepancey (oops!) and the Webcast audio for Angels & Airwaves kicked back in.

In the end, a still image of Time Square–which seemed to be the equivalent of “We’re currently experiencing technical difficulties”–displayed in the media player while Angels & Airwaves rocked on with the chorus, “it hurts, it hurts, it hurts…”. Appropriate.

The Bottom Line
Overall, the take-aways from this launch were:
– Vista has new security features
– Vista looks very cool (very Apple)
– Vista allows you to connect to your XBox 360
– Vista now has image tagging
– Windows users all over the world tested Vista and they are thinking, “Wow!” starts now…but the poor Webcast took away the “Wow” for now. Some are asking, “It took 5 years to create this OS?” Hope the usage is not like the actual launch.

For Mac OSX adopters, the real question is, “the ‘Wow!’ starts when?”, because for them, the “Wow!” has been.

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