Microsoft hones its Vista holiday pitch

Microsoft hones its Vista holiday pitch

Summary: Microsoft is holding a Windows Vista holiday-preview event this week in New York, aimed primarily at the consumer press to show off how far Vista has come in the year since the product was released to manufacturing. They allowed a few less-well-heeled interlopers, like yours truly, tour the showcase, too.


This year will mark the first time that Microsoft and its partners will have a chance to make their pitch for why Vista PCs should be on your holiday gift lists.Vista PCs on display at this week’s New York holiday showcase

To kick things off, Microsoft is holding a Windows Vista holiday-preview event this week in New York, aimed primarily at the consumer press (folks like Vogue, GQ, Cosmo, etc.) Windows officials are here to show off how far Vista has come in the year since the product was released to manufacturing.

Microsoft rented out a loft overlooking the Hudson to act as a temporary showroom. Rather than trying to demonstrate the whole "connected entertainment" scenario, Microsoft's gone the stripped-down route this time around. There are no Windows Mobile phones, no Windows Home Server systems, no Xboxes and no Zunes to be seen.

(There also was no one, thankfully, reciting the "100 Reasons Why Everyone Is So Speechless." The holiday showcase is minimalist. It's all about Vista -- and gourmet snacks/drinks.)

For Microsoft watchers like me who cover every twist and turn in the Windows saga, there isn't much (if anything) new. I've seen the new Vista laptops and notebooks from Sony, Dell, HP, Gateway and the various Windows Certified and I've checked out the various Games for Windows titles. And I've gotten demos of the latest Windows Live service add-ons for Vista, ranging from Windows Live Photo Gallery, to Windows Live Writer.

Games for Windows were on display. Zunes and Xboxes were notThe fact that the Windows team is finally showing/talking about Windows Live is pretty amazing, though. Until now, the two product families might as well as been from different planets, instead of the same company.

Microsoft isn't sharing any new tallies, as far as how many copies of Vista it has sold. (The official count remains at 60 million since the product launched.) The company is providing a few updated "momentum" data points, including:

  • There are now 7,670 apps and devices from more than 900 partners that are either "Certified for Windows Vista" or that pass the "Works with Windows Vista" tests
  • Of NPD’s list of 100 top-selling Windows apps by unit, 98 are compatible according to
  • PCs (desktop and notebook) equipped with Window Vista OS options have increased in U.S. retail shelf presence from 77% in February 2007 to 92% in September 2007.
  • There are over 41,000 hardware products are now supported on Window Update, up from 23,000 at launch

Entering the portal for the Vista Holiday showcaseI was surprised there weren't any special holiday bundles. Or mysterious new Vista form factors that are set to launch in the next month or so. Or a new advertising campaign (There might be one, but we didn't get to see it, if there is.) It's probably too insider-baseball for Martha Stewart Living, but I wondered what Microsoft is providing, right now (not next year with Service Pack 1), to make upgrading to Vista more palatable for techies and non-techies alike.

What is Microsoft doing to try to blunt the buzz around Apple's Leopard, which launches on Friday? Or even the buzz around XP, the operating system that's too good for its own good?

I wasn't wowed. I wonder if others who haven't been eying Vista so closely will be....

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Yes, the Windows Vista WOW is right Now! Let's Sing!

    The Windows Vista "WOW is NOW" hit song:
    • Thank you!!

      I immediately added this to my Zune! What an AWESOME song for jogging!! I feel like Rocky now!
      Mike Cox
      • The WOW only gets better!

        Simply SMS "WOWR" to 8888 to have the special Windows Vista ringtone sent to your mobile phone!
      • Mikey!

        You need to include this on all the (imaginary) Zunes you are handing out to your (imaginary) MCSEs. Also, don't forget to get this to your (imaginary) rep so he can help spread the word!

        Finally, get your (imaginary) CEO to have mandatory dance breaks for all the (imaginary) employees-- it'll pass the time while their PCs are booting up or copying files.

        The (imaginary) WOW is now!
        Mike Cox, Sr.
  • I would really wrather they hone the software itself!

    • If you can't

      hone the product, hone the hype.
  • Vogue, GQ, Cosmo

    Ahm... was Microsoft hoping for a cover, or just a favorable interview?
    Anton Philidor
    • Sorry but you left such a wide opening I could not resist.

      (Hmmmm....seems I heard that line in my prison days?)

      Butt what better way to get a good review of Vista then in magazines that DON'T do
      or know a great deal about tech?

      Pagan jim
    • Vogue, GQ, Cosmo

      " Ahm... was Microsoft hoping for a cover, or just a favorable interview? "

      PRESS any press they can get, any mention they can get even if it's only to say wow nice party, good food.... crappy Vista program but hey the Drinks were free!
  • Now this is hip...

    My rep invited me to go see this amazing display in New York. We flew first class this morning and upon landing at LGA, hopped in a limo and went straight to "the loft". It was unreal. First of all, there was caviar and finger foods from some of the finest chefs in all of New York City. I casually followed a couple of writers from Esquire and GQ and overheard them talking about the Apple Store on 5th Avenue. I could not contain my anger and told them that anyone could put up a glass structure and an underground store, but it takes a "real artist" to rent out a loft and line it up with Dell PCs.
    Mike Cox
    • 8.0 (NT)

      P. Douglas
    • 10.0!!! (NT)

    • My compliments to the chef

      The last few days have been filled, nay, lifted with your cogent insights. I think I'm
      feeling the contact WOW.
  • The Vogue, GQ, Cosmo people can then return to their office

    And look at the Mac sitting on their desktop - because every one of those magazines (and just about all Conde-Nast and Hearst mags) use Macs. They even specify Mac formats in the ad submission guidelines.
  • RE: Microsoft hones its Vista holiday pitch

    Not in my lifetime.

    Maybe in 2 or 3 years I'll try it when they finally get the bugs out. Microsoft can't even get Internet Explorer 7 to function dependently. Had to go back to IE 6 because there were to many IE needs to close messages and IE can not open this site. Fix it first and then field it, don't expect the user to debug the new software for you.
  • RE: Microsoft hones its Vista holiday pitch

    Vista will be the first thing on my list - right after a rabid Tasmaninan Devil
  • Already have Vista shelfware

    Got a copy of Vista Home Ultimate. Installed it and tried running it for 2 months. Yanked it and reinstalled XP-MCE and am happier.

    However, because of the copy protection issues starting to pop up under MCE, I can't move my files to another computer or device to watch them. Can't edit out commercials to save them for viewing later as archived. So, I'm looking at moving to a Linux based MCE platform. Installed Ubuntu 7.1 on my laptop and really like it. So, after YEARS of strictly Windows use, it looks like I may be starting to move over to Linux. All because of Vista. I figured if I had to do so much screwing around to get things to work in order to leave XP, I might as well invest the time in Linux and avoid the WGA, DRM, escalating costs, security problems, etc. that I face with Windows.

    I've had many of my consulting clients request XP when I build a machine for them. Clients that buy laptops are having me dump Vista off it and install XP even though it adds a few hundred dollars to their purchase price. Go figure!
    • Didn't even make to the shelf here.

      I'd been using Windows non-stop since '91. Went through it all from 3.0 through XP. However, the more I read about Vista, the more attractive Linux looked. I took the plunge, fired up a live CD and then installed dual boot. After a month, there was no more Windows on it or my other two computers. My laptop has Windows because I need it for work when I travel. Other than that it's been a happy transition to Linux. I've used Kubuntu since version 6.10 through 7.04 and now at 7.10. So far I like what I see. I also run machines with Freespire and Debian 4.0. I don't know as I'll ever go to Vista unless I have to for work.
  • RE: Microsoft hones its Vista holiday pitch

    I'll switch to MAC so who needs Vista?