The Null Device

How to host a Windows 7 party

In an attempt to wrest back the spotlight from Apple, Microsoft are organising launch parties for their new Windows 7 operating system. For merely the cost of your dignity as a human being, you too can host a Windows 7 launch party, and Microsoft will supply balloons, napkins (printed with the Windows 7 logo) and tote bags, as well as a free copy of Windows 7 for you.

Microsoft have even produced a video, showing how it's done. In the video, four regular people (the Mom, the older lady, the Urban Outfitters cool-dude (casting brief: slightly hip and with-it, but not intimidatingly so, like those Mac-toting hipster douchebags) and, of course, the Token Black Guy*) stand around a Sony Vaio laptop in a regular American kitchen and discuss the activities you can do at a Windows 7 launch party. Awkwardness ensues. Yes, you too can have highly organised fun.

The whole video has that unmistaken sheen of ersatz authenticity so typical of a poorly-made astroturf campaign: the combination of shaky, pseudo-amateurish camerawork, professional editing and implausibly even lighting that suggests that the layers of Microsoft management who signed off on the campaign weren't sure of what they wanted: something that seemed "fresh" and "organic" but, at the same time, didn't let down the professional production standards one would expect from a Fortune 500 corporation campaign.

And here is The Register's impression of what a Windows 7 party, with a middle-class middle-English bent, would be like:

Now you'll have to excuse me for a moment while I do my hostess duties. If everyone can just come in here for a minute, and gather round the laptop, then we can begin. Yes, very funny Eric, you are allowed to bring in your drinks actually, so no it isn't at all like being at school again, and that was a silly thing to say. If you want to hear something funny, you should listen to what Verity says. Wooj, come on through and bring the others, will you?

* may not be available in all countries.

There are 8 comments on "How to host a Windows 7 party":

Posted by: Greg Thu Sep 24 18:49:58 2009

These efforts by MS always end up looking like the local Sunday School trying to look cool by having rock bands play the hymns. This is slightly off-topic, but I was reminded of it the other day. As part of the hoopla over Windows 95, Microsoft bought the rights to use "Start Me Up" in their ads (alluding to the Start button!) and even had the Rolling Stones play it live at the launch. The New Waver reworking of the song to be about computer nerddom alludes to this, though when I included it on the 2006 "best of" I wondered if anyone would remember the ads. I sometimes wonder if the Stones regret selling their song to MS, since it was only after that over-the-top launch that MS really started becoming a popular target for criticism. Then again, everything the Stones have done since 1980 has been self-parody anyway. But that's another story ...

Posted by: ctime Thu Sep 24 19:37:45 2009

I agree with Gregs comments above. This is truly pathetic, even for MS standards. I should expect nothing less from Microsoft, which has become another casualty in the corporate behemoths of our modern day. Everything they do is so generic and unexceptional. Per usual, MS waits for everyone else to innovate, copies, uses questionable marketing tactics and marketing strategies to win market share (aka, how large corporate business is done). Windows 7 will be a wild success (although, any measure against vista should prove this point, I'm going to guess).

Best part about the video was the random voice over from the hipster dude (call tech support) that they couldn't properly mix. This is what happens when you have a bunch of suits and desk jockeys run your business. If the only had the burnout potheads and former coke addicts that Apple amalgamates into its business every year.

Posted by: Elf Thu Sep 24 20:37:13 2009

This post really did made me laugh out loud :-) Thanks!

Posted by: Elf Thu Sep 24 20:37:57 2009

Did make me even... :-)

Posted by: gjw Thu Sep 24 21:46:42 2009

The extreme lameness of Microsoft trying to look cool is only matched in intensity by the creepiness of Apple-folks attending their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, sorry, strike that, I mean Jobs Keynote Address. The lamentations and nashing of teeth when that guy finally bites the dust will be cause for reflection.

Posted by: acb Thu Sep 24 21:56:49 2009

By "Apple folks" do you mean developers or fanboys? Were I working with Apple technologies (i.e., writing OSX or iPhone apps for a living), I'd probably consider going to WWDC to stay on the cutting edge. And Apple do do technically cool stuff (see the post about anonymous blocks in C and Grand Central Dispatch a few weeks ago).

I know Microsoft do cool stuff from time to time (the .net DLR is theoretically quite nifty), but by the time it makes it through the layers of bureaucracy and lawyers and scorched-earth strategic positioning, it has usually been hobbled or poisoned, and generally is avoided by anyone whose manager didn't coerce them into working with it. Microsoft is a top-heavy, conservative bureaucracy, in a way which Apple isn't.

Posted by: threeze Fri Sep 25 00:53:33 2009

Have you seen Cabel's take on it?

Posted by: Muammar al-Gaddafi Fri Sep 25 04:54:07 2009

... We are proud and happy that a son of Africa is at the Windows 7 launch party. It is a flash of light in the darkness.

But Microsoft Security Essentials will not install unless it confirms that your computer is running "genuine" Windows 7. This we cannot recognize or accept. Operating system is an internal affair, no-one has the right to interfere in it. It is an internal affair.

If the antivirus software worked properly, the computers would run efficiently and no-one would buy the new version of the OS. We are committed to defend the security of computers in a collective fashion, but that did not prevent the outbreak of several hundred macro viruses which infected millions of computers ...

(remarks edited for brevity)