When I was shopping for a new laptop back in September 2006, I wanted to make sure I got one that would be able to run Windows Vista. I called a couple of retailers to double check whether the models in which I was interested could handle Vista. The responses were entertaining … and telling.
Retailer No. 1: "Lady, do you know Vista is a long, long way off?" Me: "Well, not really. Businesses can get it in November and consumers on January 30." Salesperson: "Hmmm. Are you sure?" Click.
Retailer No. 2: "Vista? That thing is in beta. It's nowhere near done. We've been playing with a couple of the betas. But who knows what kind of machines it will run on." Me: "Actually it's pretty much locked and loaded at this point. Hasn't Microsoft given you guidelines for what it will run on?" Click.
On Tuesday, January 30, it became obvious that Microsoft had gotten through to some of the bigger retailers. PC salesfolks far in a couple of New York retail outlets seemed far more up-to-speed about Vista than were their telephone counterparts four months ago.
At the Best Buy store on Fifth Avenue and 44th Street in Manhattan, there was a huge crowd at 10 a.m. on January 30, the first day that Vista was on sale at the retail store. But the vast majority in attendance seemed to be TV crews, reporters and Microsoft PR people and executives.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a guest appearance to help the store launch Vista. Ballmer quipped that this evening, when he returns home to the Seattle area, he'll finally get to do the Vista and Office 2007 upgrades on his wife's machine, now that the products are no longer "beta," but are done and shipping.
Across town, at the Circuit City store in New York's Union Square area, there were lots of Vista and Office 2007 kiosks, but no crowds at 11:30 a.m. EST. A few individuals came into the store to check out the rebate laptops and $300 or so worth of promotional hardware and software that Circuit City was offering to entice customers to buy Vista. But the store was pretty empty just before lunch.
As I made my way around town over the past couple of days, I snapped a few quick pics of the Vista launch events here in New York. Terri Stratton, a Tablet PC Most Valuable Professional (MVP), got some great shots of her own from the past couple of days' worth of whirlwind Vista launch events.