Microsoft gives a brand new reason to download Windows 11 (is it bonkers?)

For anyone still wondering whether Windows 11 is for them, Microsoft makes a lofty plea. But what does it mean?
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

You want to get closer to him? Apparently you do.

Screenshot by ZDNet

By now, you may have already decided whether Windows 11 is for you.

You may have already been moved by the splendid beauty of its resemblance to MacOS. And its really quite lovely new blooming wallpaper.

You may have even been lucky enough to learn some of the philosophical underpinnings of the Windows 11 design, as offered by the creative brains behind the rational scene. (Sample: "We looked at the Microsoft logo and turned it blue.")

But, as with most huge brands, Microsoft just had to make one final, winning appeal to make you understand why Windows 11 is the next coming of, some might snort, Windows 10.

This work of art, otherwise known as the Windows 11 anthem ad, has been running across my NFL games for a couple of weeks now. 

I confess I didn't want to offer an instant reaction. I wanted to live with it, savor it, bathe in its nuances and consider its place in the annals of aesthetics.

But now I'm ready to whisper my ultimate reaction. Which is, roughly: "You what?"

Should you have been unaccountably underground of late -- and who could blame you? -- you may not have seen this seminal work.

It begins with a woman opening her laptop and bringing up the new, Windows 11 centralized start-up menu.

This immediately makes her fall backwards. As it has several other diehard Windows users who simply can't countenance such sacrilege.

She lands on her feet, however, in a world of Windows app icons.

This, it appears, feels perfectly normal to her. She gleefully taps the Game Pass icon and immediately delights in a man pulling out a big bazooka in the desert and shooting a flying banshee.

If this is an allusion to contemporary history, I'm not sure everyone will grasp it. If this is meant merely to please gamers, then it's a complete winner.

Unfortunately, our heroine disappears into quicksand. Might this be an allusion to the internet? It might. For she now finds herself floating in a gloriously ornate library, where little birds hover and emails float on the water.

And then she walks through a wall to find a man practicing his dance moves.

"What does all this mean?," you may ask yourself. As I have, every time this ad came between punts.

The message, though, is in the last line. The ultimate reason to download Windows 11 is that it "brings you closer to what you love."

I've been pondering this for two weeks now and I still have no idea what it means.

One can appreciate that Microsoft spent a lot of money making the sort of ad that doesn't offer too many revolutions (rather like Windows 11). One can appreciate that it was produced meticulously.

But how does Windows 11 bring you closer to what you love? My initial thought was that it was somehow faster, perhaps. And, at least in superficial terms, much, much prettier. But will users really feel closer to their games or, well, their email?

I looked for Microsoft's justification in its YouTube posting. I read: "Introducing new Windows 11: A whole new way to experience your PC. It doesn't just bring you closer to the tools you need, it brings you closer to everything you love."

I love my wife, my football team and my crime novels, but I don't think Windows 11 will bring us any closer.

So the entreaty seems a touch bonkers.

But then Microsoft drifts into a splendid non-sequitur: "With new and improved features that help you stay organized in a snap. Keep up with the news, weather, and events you care about. Instantly connect with anyone, anywhere. Or access the latest apps and games right on your PC."

But isn't that more or less what Windows users do already?

In my quest for comprehension, I was undeterred. I went to Microsoft's own site, where I was told Windows 11 gives me: "All your favorite content. All in one place." 

I'd rather expected that. As I did the plaintively kitsch: "Instantly connect with anyone, anywhere, and any way."

Yet Microsoft explains: "With Windows 11, Chat is completely redesigned to give you instant access to call, chat, text, video right from your taskbar -- just a click and you're ready to connect. The end result? Windows 11 makes it easier for you to talk with your favorite people."

It's not too hard right now, is it?

The end result is that all this feels so similar to Apple hyping iPhone 13. Much ado about relatively little.

And that Game Pass icon, the one where "you can play over one hundred high-quality PC games including day one releases from Xbox Game Studios, iconic Bethesda games, blockbusters, and indie games." 

You have to click again to discover that it's, oh, sold separately.

Please, I don't feel negatively about all this Windows 11 hype. It's just that it's a lot of loud, pretty noise over what feels like a small, pretty increment.

I'm sure Windows 12 will be extraordinary.

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