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November 30, 2006

Vista launch: Microsoft making some noise in NYC

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 5:40 AM

NEW YORK -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is scheduled to give an address at 10:30 a.m. (7:30 a.m. in Seattle) at the Nasdaq Market Site in Times Square. He'll be announcing the availability to businesses of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007. You can watch it on the Web at this link.

Microsoft is making the pitch to businesses that these products work better together. Several analyst reports coming out around the business launch indicate that business adoption will be driven by factors within each enterprise, such as readiness for new hardware and IT staff capacity.

IDC research suggests that 90 million copies of Vista will be deployed in 2007, with consumers leading the way. Microsoft plans to make Vista and Office 2007 broadly available on Jan. 30.

The company and its partners in the computer industry -- many of whom are here today -- are walking a marketing tightrope with the business launch. By making too much noise about Vista now, they could douse holiday PC sales to consumers.

As of last night, there was no major Microsoft advertising in Times Square, where just about every other brand in the world is writ large in flashing lights.

Delays of Vista that ultimately put its launch date past the holiday shopping season could cost the industry billions in delayed sales, according to some analysts. A U.S. Dept. of Commerce report out earlier this week pegged October PC shipments at their lowest level in at least 15 years -- perhaps an early indicator that people are waiting to buy computers until they can get one with Vista on board.

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